Photo: Reuters
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein following sentence
Photo: Reuters
Photo: AFP
Iraqi soldiers celebrate prior to execution
Photo: AFP

Saddam Hussein executed, Iraqi violence continues

Arab Television news agencies report former Iraqi dictator convicted of committing 'crimes against humanity' executed by hanging in Baghdad at dawn

According to Arab Television news agencies, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was executed in Baghdad early Saturday morning by hanging.


Saddam was convicted of crimes against humanity for his part in the execution of 148 Shiite residents of Dujail, a town north of Baghdad, in June 1982, which took place following his attempted assassination during a visit to the town.


The execution garnered support from many nations around the world, including those like Australia who oppose the death penalty on their own soil.


President George W. Bush stated that the execution marks the “end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops”, but cautioned that his death would not halt the violence in Iraq.


Saddam himself said in a letter to his attorneys several days prior to his execution that his death would be a “martyrs” death and called on the Iraqi people to stay united in their resistance of the enemy. According to his attorneys, Saddam wrote the letter in November following his sentencing.


Indeed, mere  hours after the execution, a car bomb exploded in a market in the city of Kufa in southern Iraq, one of the nation's holiest cities for Shiites, resulting in 31 deaths and many injuries.


For fear of riots, a four-day curfew was imposed on Saddam’s place of birth, the town of Tikrit. The American military said it was prepared for any escalation of violence that would occur as a result of the Iraqi dictator’s death.


'Baath party determind to hit American targets'

Iraqis worried about riots breaking out following the execution. In an internet post, Saddam’s Baath Party, which was dismantled after his regime’s fall, threatened to retaliate if the ousted Iraqi leader was executed. Party activists declared in the post that they would go after American targets “everywhere” if their leader was executed.


“The Baath party and the underground are determined to respond, by all means, and everywhere, to hit America and American targets if this crime is committed,” the post said.


Party activists said they held the US government responsible for every injury to the former president, since it was the US government, “and not the government of Iraqi puppets”, that made decisions in Iraq.


Additionally, Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, a former Taliban defence minister and top insurgent commander, said that Saddam's execution, particularly on the Eid al-Adha holiday, would galvanize Muslim opposition to the United States.


"Saddam's hanging on the day of Eid is a challenge to Muslims," Obaidullah said from an undisclosed location. "His death will boost the morale of Muslims. The jihad in Iraq will be intensified and attacks on invader forces will increase. Thousands of people will rise up with hatred for America."


פרסום ראשון: 12.30.06, 05:17
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