Iraqis dancing in the streets

The news of the capture of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was greeted by dancing in the streets and celebratory gunfire by the people of Baghdad, according to reports.

The news of the capture of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was greeted by dancing in the streets and celebratory gunfire by the people of Baghdad, according to reports.

As his capture was welcomed by governments around the world, many residents took to the streets of the capital, waving flags, shooting guns in the air and cheering at the downfall of their former leader.

Radio stations played celebratory music and motorists hooted their vehicle horns in celebration at the Americans‘ capture of the most wanted man in the country.

The scenes were reportedly repeated across much of the country – including Kirkuk, the Shiite holy city of Najaf, Nasiriya in the south, the port city of Basra, and the northern Kurdish stronghold of Suleimaniya – as his former subjects began to finally believe that Saddam’s brutal reign was over.

In Baquba the Muslim priest issuing the daily call to prayer, instead issued a call to celebrate.

And even Iraqi journalists covering the press conference which broke the news to the world cheered, punched the air and shouted ‘Death to Saddam’.

Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari told CNN: “This nightmare is gone once and for all and celebrations are taking place throughout the country from the north to the south. It is a great day.”

Ali Al-Bashiri from Kirkuk told the BBC: “This is the joy of a lifetime. I am speaking on behalf of all the people that suffered under his rule.

Rasoul Rida added: “I can’t describe how happy I am.”

In Baghdad, Yehya Hassan said: “I’m very happy for the Iraqi people. Life is going to be safer now. Now we can start a new beginning.”

But the grainy pictures of the bearded and dishevelled 66-year-old were greeted with disbelief by some, who refused to acknowledge that the Americans had got their man.

In Saddam’s stronghold of Fallujah and Hawja, there were reports of incredulity and quiet streets.

And some residents near Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit said they believed the arrest was the result of betrayal and a major blow.

“Today is the day that Iraq was defeated, not in April,” Hamid, a barber, told Reuters in Tikrit.

“There are no longer any Muslims in Iraq because there is no betrayal in Islam…there is no Islam here,” he said.

“Everyone who is cheering now also clapped for Saddam,” Wael, who owns a print shop, said. “There is no honour in this country, they just sold him.”

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