Baghdad: The tomb of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein reportedly has been destroyed during the ongoing assault to liberate the strategic city of Tikrit from the Islamic State (IS).
Security officials said on Monday the mausoleum located in Al Ouya, south of Tikrit, was destroyed during fighting that erupted in the area between Iraqi government forces and IS fighters. Hussein's remains were no longer in the mausoleum, having been removed by his family last June, a month before the jihadis took control of the city.
Saddam Hussein. File pic/ AFP
Images broadcast of the tomb, which is of medium size, show that only a few of its pillars remain standing, indicating that it was destroyed with explosives or in bombardments. Sunni tribal sheikh Mohammed al Biyari told Efe on Monday that the sabotage of the mausoleum was "a humiliation to the symbolism of Saddam and to the Iraqis who love him, whether they are Shia or Sunnis."
Al Biyari accused pro-government Shia volunteers of destroying the tomb, adding that they also were murdering civilians and destroying homes in the Sunni parts of the city that were being liberated from the jihadis. Since March 9, when the operation to drive the IS out of Tikrit was launched, complaints have increased about acts of revenge against Sunnis at the hands of Shia militias.