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Images and video of Saddam Hussein moments before being hanged and post-execution in Baghdad on Saturday, 30 December 2006 are spreading across the Internet, to mixed reaction of condemnation, jubilation and violence reports Monster and Critics.
Saddam Hussein will be buried Sunday in the same cemetery as his sons, the son of a tribal leader said Saturday.
The U.S. military delivered Hussein's body to heads of tribes and the governor of Salahedin hours after Hussein was hanged in Baghdad reports CNN.
The body was then taken to Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, north of the capital, where members of the Bou Nasser tribe and clerics prayed over it, said a reporter for CNN who saw the body in Tikrit. Watch as Hussein's body lies in a shroud -- graphic content, viewer discretion advised
The son of one tribal leader said Hussein will be buried Sunday at 9 a.m. (1 a.m. ET) in a cemetery in the Awja section of Tikrit.
Hussein remained defiant to the end, arguing with guards and mocking Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr moments before he was hanged, a witness said Saturday.
Saddam Hussein also refused a hood to cover his eyes.
As a noose was tightened around Hussein's neck, one of the executioners yelled "long live Muqtada al-Sadr," Haddad said, referring to the powerful anti-American Shiite religious leader.
The post-execution footage showed the man identified as Saddam lying on a stretcher, covered in a white shroud. His neck and part of the shroud have what appear to be bloodstains. His eyes are closed.
Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were not hanged along with their former leader as originally planned. Officials wanted to reserve the occasion for Saddam alone.
"We wanted him to be executed on a special day," National Security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie told state-run al-Iraqiya television reports AP
Sami al-Askari, the political adviser of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, told the AP that Saddam was clad in a black suit, hat and shoes, rather than prison garb. His hat was removed and his hands tied shortly before the noose was slipped around his neck.
Saddam repeated a prayer after a Sunni Muslim cleric who was present.
President Bush said in a statement issued from his ranch in Texas that bringing Saddam to justice "is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain and defend itself, and be an ally in the war on terror."
He said that the execution marks the "end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops" and cautioned that Saddam's death will not halt the violence in Iraq.
Within hours of his death, bombings killed at least 68 people in Iraq, including one planted on a minibus that exploded in a fish market in a mostly Shiite town south of Baghdad.
People, in the Sunni-dominated city of Tikrit, once a power base of Saddam, lamented his death.
"The president, the leader Saddam Hussein is a martyr and God will put him along with other martyrs. Do not be sad nor complain because he has died the death of a holy warrior," said Sheik Yahya al-Attawi, a cleric at the Saddam Big Mosque.
Police blocked the entrances to Tikrit and said nobody was allowed to leave or enter the city for four days. Despite the security precaution, gunmen took to the streets of Tikrit, carrying pictures of Saddam, shooting into the air, and calling for vengeance.
The Iraqi prime minister's office released a statement that said Saddam's execution was a "strong lesson" to ruthless leaders who commit crimes against their own people.
The execution came 56 days after a court convicted Saddam and sentenced him to death for his role in the killings of 148 Shiite Muslims from Dujail. Iraq's highest court rejected Saddam's appeal Monday and ordered him executed within 30 days.
In a farewell message to Iraqis posted Wednesday on the Internet, Saddam said he was giving his life for his country as part of the struggle against the U.S. "Here, I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if he wants, he will send it to heaven with the martyrs," he said.
One of Saddam's lawyers, Issam Ghazzawi, said the letter was written by Saddam on Nov. 5, the day he was convicted by an Iraqi tribunal in the Dujail killings reports BBC.
Najeeb al-Nauimi, a member of Saddam's legal team, said U.S. authorities maintained physical custody of Saddam until the execution to prevent him being humiliated publicly or his corpse being mutilated, as has happened to previous Iraqi leaders deposed by force. He said they didn't want anything to happen to further inflame Sunni Arabs.
"This is the end of an era in Iraq," al-Nauimi said from Doha, Qatar. "The Baath regime ruled for 35 years. Saddam was vice president or president of Iraq during those years. For Iraqis, he will be very well remembered. Like a martyr, he died for the sake of his country."