UnNews:Iraq celebrates Saddam Hussein verdict with sectarian violence

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5 November 2006

Euphoric Iraqis destroyed this Sunni mosque after Saddam Hussein was sentenced.

BAGHDAD -- Former dictator Saddam Hussein's death sentence caused thousands of Iraqis to take to the streets Sunday in displays of joy, ecstasy and religious hatred.

Spontaneous celebrations and car bombings took place from Mosul to Baghdad, as the war-torn country temporarily drowned its fears and anxieties about the future in singing, dancing and frenzied killing.

"God be praised, justice has been done," cheered Ali al-Nasri, a 24-year-old electrician from Sadr City, as he opened fire on a Sunni madrassa. "Now we can put the nightmares of the past behind us and build a new future, free of terror and the followers of the false Caliph."

Shiites like al-Nasri joined "block parties" in and around Baghdad, jumping into wildly cheering mobs and ripping blocks out of Sunni mosques. Laughter, cheers and cries of "Death to the murderers of the Prophet's nephew!" echoed throughout the streets.

Sunnis also joined the celebration, throwing firecrackers and home-made bombs into the Shiite crowds.

"We do not recognize the legitimacy of this imperialist 'government,' constructed solely to kill and persecute the true followers of Islam," said Mohammed Zarqawi, a 49-year-old accountant, as he aimed a bazooka at a Shiite crowd. "Nor will we accept the verdict of the court. We will spill blood in the name Mohammed, peace be upon him."

Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite, welcomed the verdict and promised that additional Sunnis would die before sunset.

"The execution could partially appease the victims," he said. "The martyrs of Iraq now have the right to smile. But the nation will not know peace until the last Sunni is buried in the ground."

President George W. Bush, speaking at a rally in Missouri Sunday, praised the court's decision and cited the verdict as a sign that stability was coming to Iraq.

"See, look at this," Bush said before a crowd of cheering supporters, as a video of a Shiite death squad played behind him. "These people no longer live in fear. They have a functional government. And they no longer have worry that they will die on any given day. Can you believe the Democrats think this is a failure?"