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Iraqis split in reaction to Saddam hanging

[JURIST] Iraqi Shiites Saturday celebrated the execution [JURIST report] of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive; BBC obituary]. Since the Iraqi government did not impose a mandatory curfew on Baghdad as it did in November at the time of Hussein's conviction in fear of retaliatory violence [JURIST report], hundreds of people in the Shiite part of Baghdad's Sadr City took to the street, dancing and firing guns.

Citizens of the Sunni-dominated city of Tikrit, Hussein's family home town and power base, nonetheless mourned the death of the ousted Iraqi president. Gunmen took to the streets, carrying pictures of Hussein and calling for vengeance. In Sunni-dominated Samarra, a curfew was imposed after approximately 500 people protested the execution. Scattered protests also took place elsewhere the country, in the Anbar capital of Ramadi and in Adwar, the village south of Tikrit where Hussein was captured by US troops.

A statement by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as quoted by AP, called Hussein's execution a "strong lesson" to ruthless leaders who commit crimes against their own people. The statement went on to say that "We strongly reject considering Saddam as a representative of any sect in Iraq because the tyrant only represented his evil soul. The door is still open for those whose hands are not tainted with the blood of innocent people to take part in the political process and work on rebuilding Iraq." AP has more.

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