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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 August, 2003, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Service scrapped for Saddam sons
By Jonathan Head
BBC correspondent in Baghdad

Iraqi men stand beside graves of Uday, Qusay and Mustafa Hussein
Few people attended Saturday's burial
A planned memorial service for the two sons of Saddam Hussein has been cancelled in the ousted Iraqi president's hometown of Tikrit.

A local Muslim cleric said he had cancelled the service after consulting members of Saddam Hussein's clan.

The bodies of Uday and Qusay were buried on Saturday in a ceremony heavily policed by US forces.

Within a few hours of their hasty burials, even the Iraqi flags had vanished from the graves of Saddam's two sons, now marked with just a simple yellow headstone.

The US administration had been keen to prevent their funerals from turning into a demonstration of support for the former Iraqi leader. And they appear to have succeeded.

Town's status

Negotiations with Saddam Hussein's clan over the release of the bodies, carried out through the Red Crescent society, produced an apparent deal under which the two men were buried quickly, with just a few dozen relatives present.

Mourners grieve at the graves of Uday and Qusay Hussein

Now the clan has cancelled plans for a memorial service. Whether that is because of US pressure is not clear.

It is difficult to assess how much support there still is for Saddam Hussein in Tikrit.

The town did well under his rule and now stands to lose its favoured status.

But many of those attending the funerals of Uday and Qusay, both hated in much of Iraq for their many brutalities, may have been doing so as much to fulfil tribal obligations as out of any real loyalty to the former ruling family.


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