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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:34, October 19, 2005
Feature: Dujail witnesses assassination and revenge
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Dujail, a mainly Shiite Muslim town north of the capital Baghdad, suddenly made headlines on July 8, 1982 when 19 gunmen attacked the motorcade of then president Saddam Hussein during his visit to the town.

Saddam survived the assassination but revenged the attempted murder by killing 143 men from Dujail, a charge brought against him 23 years later.

While Saddam is to stand trial in connection with the Dujail killing on Wednesday, some assassins who escaped Saddam's crackdown still have fresh memories of what had happened in Dujail.

"A group of residents, including me, decided to kill Saddam Hussein without having any support of any parties," Faris Jasim al- Amin, one of the survivors who dared an attempt on Saddam's life, told Xinhua.

"We opened fire at the tyrant's convoy with our AK-47 assault rifles in front of the Ibrahimiyah school in town centre," Amin recalled the failed attempt.

"My friend Sattar Tawfiq Yahiya was driving a motorcycle. His mission was to find out which car Saddam was in while we were hiding and ready to attack according to his signal," he said.

Saddam's car was identified when he entered the town, but he changed his car later.

"We opened fire at what we believed was Saddam's car but killed one of his bodyguards," Amin said, adding that nine of his colleagues were killed in the exchange of fire.

The rest of the attackers managed to flee to Baghdad, later to Mosul and Irbil in the north and finally to neighboring Iran, the Shiite Islamic country which fought an eight-year war with Iraq since 1980.

But this was not the end of the story. Saddam showed little mercy to Dujail residents among them 143 were killed and 257 others missing in retaliation against his suspected murderers, according to Hatem Ahmed al-Khazraji, head of the Free Prisoners in Dujail.

"Saddam displaced more than 100 families to the southern desert of Samawa, where they spent four years before they were allowed to return to their hometown," Khazraji said.

"Bulldozers flatted dozens of orchards," he added.

"My brother was executed during the massacre of the town, and I was tortured and put to jail for seven years before I was released for Saddam's amnesty," Khazraji said.

Muhammed Hassan Muhmoud, another survivor from the 19-assassin squad, who is now the governor of the town, said "We didn't intend to take the power, all we wanted was to save Iraq from the tyrant who had killed a group of our Shiekhs (tribal leaders) without any reason."

"We don't demand a blind revenge, we want justice according to law," Muhmoud said, when asked about Saddam's trial.

However, Amin and Khazraji demanded the court to execute Saddam and his aides for their crimes in Dujail.

Source: Xinhua


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