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US Military Says It Played No Role in Saddam's Execution


The U.S. military in Iraq says it had no role in the execution of Saddam Hussein and would have handled things differently if it had "physical custody" of the former Iraqi dictator.

Spokesman Major General William Caldwell told reporters in Baghdad Wednesday that U.S. forces handed over Saddam to Iraqi authorities shortly before he was hanged on Saturday, and that Iraqis were in charge of all necessary measures for the conduct of the execution.

A unofficial video of Saddam's hanging captured on a mobile telephone showed one person taunting him just before the execution.

The Iraqi government says it is investigating how a witness to the hanging filmed the procedure and released it on the Internet and to television stations.

Saddam's supporters have staged demonstrations in several Iraqi cities and in Jordan since Saturday's execution.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military says coalition forces detained 23 suspected terrorists with ties to senior al-Qaida leaders during multiple raids Wednesday morning in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad.

A separate military statement said an Iraqi court has sentenced to death three foreign terrorists who were convicted of al-Qaida-linked terrorist activities. The three - a Saudi, a Sudanese and a Syrian - were among 48 detainees convicted by Iraq's Criminal Court last month.

Separately, the U.S. military announced today the death of an American soldier, who was killed by a roadside bomb blast south of Baghdad on Sunday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.