Sunday, December 31, 2006

Curfews imposed after Saddam’s execution

Curfews imposed after Saddam's execution

"Saddam will be a hero in our eyes," she said. "I have five kids and I will teach them to take revenge on Americans."

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 into the streets, carrying pictures of Saddam, shooting into the air and calling for vengeance.

Security forces also set up roadblocks at the entrance to another Sunni stronghold, Samarra, and a curfew was imposed after about 500 went into the streets to protest the execution.

Among minority Sunnis there was deep anger, born not only of Saddam's execution but of the loss of their decades-long political and economic dominance that began with Saddam's ouster in the U.S. invasion nearly four years ago.

"The president, the leader, Saddam Hussein is a martyr and God will put him along with other martyrs," said Yahya al-Attawi, who led prayer at a towering Sunni mosque constructed by Saddam in Tikrit.

There were cheers at the cafeteria of a U.S. outpost in Baghdad as soldiers having breakfast learned Saddam had been hanged.

But members of the Army's 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, on patrol in an overwhelmingly Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, said the execution wouldn't get them home any faster — and therefore didn't make much difference.

"Nothing really changes," said Capt. Dave Eastburn, 30, of Columbus, Ohio. "The militias run everything now, not Saddam."

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