Shiite Woman Saves Sons from Saddam

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Sabiha Mohammed Ismail sits between sons Ibrahim (left) and Saad. NPR Photo, Nick Spicer hide caption

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Saddam Hussein's fearsome intelligence services killed thousands and had spies throughout Iraq.

But as NPR's Nick Spicer reports, a plucky Shiite woman in Baghdad — Sabiha Mohammed Ismail — hid two of her sons in her home for two decades, even though the agents came frequently to arrest and execute them.

The brothers grew up unbeknownst to their next-door neighbors, reading hundreds of books, and coaching their mom in how best to lie to the interrogators.

She even succeeded in persuading Iraqi officials they had already put to death her sons... who were just upstairs.

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