More than 5,000 people, mostly Kurds, were killed after Iraqi planes under the leadership of Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam’s cousin, dropped chemical bombs on Halabja and its suburbs on March 16, 1988 as part of a genocidal campaign against the Kurds and other ethnic groups in Northern Iraq, known as al-Anfal Operation which killed tens of thousands.
Another 7,000 were injured, crippled, or suffered long-term health problems in Halabja poison gas attack.
Although Halabja massacre was the most heinous part of the al-Anfal Operation, it was not end of it, the Iraqi army also systematically destroyed villages, incarcerated in concentration camps, starved, and executed thousands of people between 1986 and 1989 in an attempt to quash an uprising in the north.
Arab countries and the West turned a blind-eye to the atrocities committed by the Saddam regime against a civilian population.
On 5 November, 2006, three years after US-led occupation of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was found guilty for crimes against humanity and sentenced to death. He, however, was not tried for the Halabja genocide.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, nicknamed Chemical Ali, was convicted of crimes against humanity, and sentenced to death for his involvement in the chemical bombing of Halabja in 2010.