Iraq's Dictator Tomb Leveled to Rubble + Video

Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:42:53

The tomb of Iraq’s dictator Saddam was virtually leveled in heavy clashes between militants from the ISIS group and Iraqi forces in a fight for control of the city of Tikrit.

Fighting intensified to the north and south of Saddam’s hometown Sunday as Iraqi security forces vowed to reach the center of Tikrit within 48 hours.

Associated Press video from the village of Ouja, just south of Tikrit, shows all that remains of Saddam’s once-lavish tomb are the support columns that held up the roof.

“This is one of the areas where ISIS militants massed the most because Saddam’s grave is here,” said Captain Yasser Nu’ma, an official with the Shiite militias, formerly known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. “The ISIS militants’ set an ambush for us by planting bombs around” the tomb.

The ISIS group claimed in August that Saddam’s tomb had been completely destroyed, but local officials said it was just ransacked and burned, but suffered only minor damage.

Saddam’s body has been kept in the mausoleum in his birthplace, Ouja, since 2007.

Iraqi media reported last year that Saddam’s corpse was removed by loyalists amid fears that it would be disturbed in the fighting. The body’s location is not known.

Recapturing Tikrit, a Sunni bastion on the Tigris River, would pave the way for an assault on Mosul, which U.S. officials have said could come as soon as next month.

Local Sunni tribal fighters have formed alliances with the Iraqi army and Shiite militias in the battle for Tikrit, which Iraqi and U.S. officials believe is essential for defeating the Sunni militant group.

Yazan al-Jubouri, a Sunni from Tikrit fighting alongside the Shiite militias, said that the ISSI militants killed 16 of his relatives and kept his family living in horror.

“We want to take revenge on those ISIS militants who killed our children,” he said.

string(1052) "[{"id":"1684628","sort":"3329441","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/03/12/alalam_635617649744516935_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Final Day for ISIS in Tikrit; Heavy Street Battle + Video and Pics"} ,{"id":"1684712","sort":"3329442","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/03/12/alalam_635617880559223206_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Tikrit under Control of Iraqi Army: Local Sources"} ,{"id":"1684730","sort":"3329443","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/03/12/alalam_635617943818111408_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"By Video: Latest Development in Tikrit"} ,{"id":"1684940","sort":"3329444","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/03/13/alalam_635618715257579780_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Fierce Fighting Rages in the Streets of Tikrit + Video"} ,{"id":"1685088","sort":"3329445","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/03/14/alalam_635619315693269565_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Tikrit Under Full Control: Iraq Defense Minister"} ,{"id":"1685202","sort":"3329446","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/03/14/alalam_635619580752543492_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"by Frontline Video; 3 Days to Centre of Tikrit"} ]"