BAGHDAD, Iraq - Militants attacked and burned the tomb of ex-dictator Saddam Hussein, a senior Iraqi security official told NBC News Thursday as various groups were locked in deadly battles for control of the country. The blackened burial site in the deposed leader’s birthplace of Al-Awja, about 95 miles north of Baghdad, was shown in unverified amateur video posted to YouTube.
“Those shown in the video are militias from the Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq (AAH),” said the official, who added that the ex-leader’s body had not been moved for safekeeping before Monday's attack as some tribal leaders had previously claimed. AAH, or “League of the Righteous,” is a Shiite militant group. Saddam, who was a Sunni Muslim, was hanged in 2006 after being convicted of the killing of 148 Shiite villagers in 1982. The tomb had been left unguarded after government forces recaptured the area from Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants seeking to establish a caliphate.
- Ghazi Balkiz and Alastair Jamieson