Iraqi politician Tawfiq al-Yasiri died after contracting the novel coronavirus on Sunday, according to a local medical source. 

Al-Yasiri, the head of the Democratic Patriotic Coalition, was admitted to hospital a few days ago after being diagnosed with COVID-19 but succumbed to the disease on Sunday, the source said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Al-Yasiri had served in the Iraqi Navy during the era of former President Saddam Hussein before he defected and fled to Saudi Arabia.

He returned to Iraq after the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2003 and formed the Democratic Patriotic Coalition. His party, however, did not win any seat in the Iraqi parliament.

Al-Yasiri is the first politician to die from the illness in Iraq.

Iraqi authorities have recorded 18,950 confirmed cases from coronavirus, including 549 deaths.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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