The Iraqi government has confirmed Saudi national Abdel Saalam Al-Subhan was killed while fighting on the behalf of the terror group
Iraq has expelled its first Saudi Arabian ambassador in a quarter of a century over his refusal to condemn his cousin, who has died while fighting for extremist group Isis.
Abdel-Salaam Al-Subhan was killed two weeks ago in fighting near Mosul, authorities said.
Ambassador Thamer Al-Subhan allegedly refused to denounce the actions of his cousin in joining the terror organisation, which still claims parts of northern Iraq as part of its territory.
Graphic photos allegedly of the body of the dead man appeared on social media, but could not be immediately verified.
The incident, which came on top of apparent claims that Shia militias fighting Isis were causing sectarian divisions in Iraq, and were plotting to assassinate him, led to a formal request from the Iraqi government to Riyadh to remove Al-Subhan from his post.
Al-Sabhan, appointed last year, was the first Saudi ambassador to be posted to Iraq for 25 years. Riyadh closed its embassy in the country in 1990, after former president Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Relations had remained strained since.
Baghdad has formally requested that Riyadh send another diplomat to take up the post, it was reported.
“Frankly I tried to fulfill my duties… Saudi Arabia’s policies in Iraq will not change,” Sabhan said in an interview with Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television on Sunday.
On Wednesday Saudi authorities said they have not taken steps to move Al-Sabhan yet.
“The call to replace the ambassador will not affect, from our side, the present or future of these relations, and in fact we look forward to positive developments,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmad Jamal. Saudi Arabia is keen to develop relationship with Iraq as a “good neighbour”, he added.