DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Debbie Elliott.

The death toll for American military personnel in Iraq reached 3,000 this weekend as the Pentagon announced new deaths. We'll have reflections on this milestone in a few moments, but we begin tonight with a report from Baghdad.

The Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice kept families at home and gave them a chance to absorb the news of Saddam Hussein's execution yesterday. Internet sites and Arabic television channels showed graphic video today of the former leader's hanging, and of his burial in the village where he was born.

A warning: the audio in this report from NPR's Corey Flintoff is disturbing.

COREY FLINTOFF: The news of Saddam's execution took many Iraqis by surprise. It was rumored on Friday but didn't take place until before dawn of the following day. Since then, accounts of the hanging have trickled out.

First, a witness's description. Then a segment of official video, silent, Saddam brought out by masked executioners. The noose is slipped over his head. Then a brief and grainy cell phone video. Saddam shrouded in a white body bag, his neck disjointed.

(Soundbite of video)

FLINTOFF: Then, overnight, this video appeared on Web sites and television channels. It's the first sound of the execution chamber and it crackles with prayers and curses. It's shot from below the scaffold by someone with an unsteady hand. Saddam stands over the trap with the hangman's knot on his shoulders, an occasional camera flash flaring across the background like lightning. Someone chants the name of the radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

(Soundbite of video)

FLINTOFF: Saddam can be heard challenging. Is this manhood?

(Soundbite of video)

FLINTOFF: Interrupted by go to hell. Saddam begins to recite the Muslim profession of faith.

(Soundbite of video)

FLINTOFF: There is no god but God and Mohammad is his prophet. Before he can complete it a second time, a hangman pulls the lever and Saddam plunges.

(Soundbite of video)

FLINTOFF: The camera goes black. Prayers, curses. Saddam is seen darkly, his head wrenched to the side by the taut knot. Sporadic flashes whiten the scene like chalk.

The government has had no comment on the video, but it appears to achieve what Iraq's new leadership needed to prove, that the man who dominated Iraqi lives for nearly three decades is dead.

Corey Flintoff, NPR News, Baghdad.

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