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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 00:15 GMT
Saddam 'punched by court clerks'
Saddam Hussein in court
Saddam Hussein is due back in court within weeks
Saddam Hussein was attacked by two court clerks while undergoing questioning for his trial, Iraqi television has reported.

The clerks were reported to have punched him several times after he allegedly insulted two Shia saints.

State-run al-Iraqiya TV, quoting "sources close to investigative judges", did not say when it happened.

"Saddam insulted Imam Hussein and his brother Abbas provoking two of the court's clerks," al-Iraqiya said.

"They attacked the tyrant and punched him several times," the station said.

The former Iraqi leader was being interrogated over the crushing of the Shia rebellion in southern Iraq, which followed the first Gulf War.

Tens of thousands of Shias were killed, and the shrines of the half-brothers Imam Hussein and Imam Abbasin the Shia holy city of Karbala were damaged by Saddam Hussein's forces.

The claim follows a report in July, issued by Saddam Hussein's defence team, that said he had been assaulted by a man as he was leaving the courtroom at the end of a 45-minute hearing.

The ousted leader's trial started last month and is due to resume in less than two weeks.

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