Saddam Is Buried Near His Home Village Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is buried before dawn Sunday near Tikrit, where his rise to power began. Leaders of his tribe may have been flown to Tikrit in a U.S. military aircraft to carry out the 3 a.m. ceremony, which followed quickly and quietly on the heels of Saddam's execution.
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Saddam Is Buried Near His Home Village

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Saddam Is Buried Near His Home Village

Saddam Is Buried Near His Home Village

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ANDREA SEABROOK, Host:

It's not clear what form that revenge might take. NPR's Corey Flintoff joins us from Baghdad. Corey, we understand that Saddam's body was claimed by leaders of his tribe and that the burial took place very quickly. What else do you know about it?

COREY FLINTOFF: Well, the Arabic TV channels are showing footage of a body bag covered with an Iraqi flag, and it's lying in state in what looks like one of his palaces, actually. And we're told that members of his tribe, the Albu Nasir, were brought to Baghdad to pick up the body and that they were actually flown back to Tikrit in a U.S. military aircraft. We haven't been able to confirm that with the U.S. military, but we're hearing that from our stringer in Tikrit.

SEABROOK: 00 o'clock in the morning. We're seeing some very dark footage that seems to show the burial - Reuters misquoting a source who said that the ceremony and the burial were kept under very close surveillance by U.S. and Iraqi troops.

SEABROOK: Weren't the U.S. and the Iraqi government concerned that Saddam's body could become a symbol for insurgents to rally around?

FLINTOFF: They definitely wanted to avoid the kind of spectacle that is often seen in the Middle East when a leader is killed, where the sight of the coffin being carried through the streets surrounded by crowds of supporters. Some people here are suggesting that the government may have made a deal with the leaders of Saddam's tribe just to give them the body if they agreed to a quiet burial and a fairly anonymous grave site.

SEABROOK: Well, you know, there were rumors flying around about the disposition of Saddam's body right up to the last minute, Corey.

FLINTOFF: Yesterday evening, some members of the family reportedly suggested burying Saddam in the town of Ramadi, which is right in the Sunni Arab heartland, al-Anbar Province, and right now it's probably the strongest center for the insurgency. So I think there was no way the Iraqi government would allow that, and Tikrit must've seemed like a safer compromise.

SEABROOK: There was video all over the Internet, all over the television, from Saddam's execution, showing the executioners putting a noose around his neck, and later there was apparently cell-phone images showing Saddam dead, with his neck sort of twisted and out of place. I understand there's even more graphic video since then circulating.

FLINTOFF: Video posted on the Internet shows Saddam actually falling and then hanging from the rope.

SEABROOK: If the Iraqi government wanted to execute Saddam with some sort of decorum, why would they have allowed this kind of video to be shot?

FLINTOFF: I think it's part of showing the Iraqi public that Saddam is really dead. You know, this way the Iraqi government releases part of the official video that seems less likely to offend anyone, but it doesn't have to take responsibility for these more graphic images that really prove that Saddam was killed.

SEABROOK: NPR's Corey Flintoff in Baghdad. Corey, thanks very much.

FLINTOFF: Thank you, Andrea.

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