Fighting erupts in Baghdad after verdict

Fighting has broken out in Baghdad between Sunnis and the Iraqi army after Saddam Hussein, the former president, was sentenced to death.

    US armour has been deployed in Baghdad to enforce a curfew

    Heavy firing was reported in Adhimiyah, a mainly Sunni district of Baghdad, within half an hour of Saddam Hussein's death sentence being announced on Sunday morning.

    Several mortarshells also reportedly landed near the Abu Hanifa mosque in Adhimiya. The mosque is a focus for Sunni armed groups in the area.

    Before the verdict was announced, Iraq's army imposed a complete curfew in Baghdad, in Diyala province, a mainly Sunni region and around Tikrit, Saddam's hometown.

    In Tikrit as many as 1,000 people defied the curfew and carried pictures of the former president through the streets.

    Some Sunnis there declared the court a product of the U.S. "occupation forces" and decried the verdict.

    "By our souls, by our blood we sacrifice for you Saddam", they shouted. "Saddam your name shakes America."

    Kurds and Shias celebrate

    But while Iraq's Sunnis reacted angrily to the verdict, Iraq's other sects and ethnic groups have began celebrating.

    Iraq's Shia who made up over half of Iraq's population have begun holding impromptu celebrations in Najaf and other cities to mark Saddam's sentencing.

    Over 100,000 Iraqi Shias were killed in 1991 after attempting to overthrow Saddam's predominantly Sunni government.

    Shias in Najaf have poured into the streets to celebrate

    In Sadr City, a mainly Shia area of Baghdad, people celebrated in the streets, calling out: "Where are you Saddam? We want to fight you."

    A jubilant crowd of young men carried pictures of radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and handed out sweets to children.

    In the streets of Dujail, a city of 84,000 on the river Tigris, people celebrated as the verdict was read out and then burned pictures of Saddam.

    Iraq's four million ethnic Kurds are also expected to celebrate the sentence.

    Saddam is also due to stand trial for the 1988 Anfal campaign which killed more than 200,000 Kurds.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.