- Title: IRAQ: U.S. TROOPS CONTINUE TO PATROL TIKRIT.
- Date: 28th April 2003
- Summary: (EU) TIKRIT, 180 KM NORTH OF BAGHDAD, IRAQ (APRIL 26, 2003) (REUTERS) 1. GV: SADDAM'S PALACE WITH AMERICAN MILITARY CARS DRIVING PAST 0.07 2. GV: AMERICAN TANK AND APACHE HELICOPTER HOVERING ABOVE 0.11 3. GV: STATUE OF SADDAM RIDING A HORSE 0.15 4. LV: AMERICAN TROOPS PATROLLING THE STREETS OF TIKRIT 0.20 5. GV: AMERICAN SOLDIER CROSSING OUT GRAFFITI THAT READS "CONGRATULATIONS LEADER SADDAM HUSSEIN" 0.35 6. GV: MORE AMERICAN SOLDIERS PATROLLING THE STREETS 0.40 7. GV: WIDE OF THE BURNT PALACE FROM THE SIDE 0.43 8. VARIOUS: VARIOUS OF THE DAMAGE INSIDE THE PALACE (9 SHOTS) 1.28 9. GV: EXTERIOR OF PALACE 1.34 10. GV: BROKEN STATUE 1.37 11. MCU: SOUNDBITE (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED LOCAL RESIDENT SAYING: "Saddam's return is impossible under these current circumstances, under the presence of the American troops. I'm sure that he will not come back." 1.50 12. GV: STREET SCENE 1.53 13. MCU: SOUNDBITE (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED LOCAL RESIDENT SAYING: "Saddam Hussein will come back and even if he won't return, every honest child will be Saddam Hussein." 2.01 14. GV: STREET SCENE 2.07 15. GV/MV: AMERICAN TROOPS ON PATROL (3 SHOTS) 2.20 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 13th May 2003 13:00
- Location: TIKRIT, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA3VHGLOEMCO5UJ99JLGI2BSSRV
- Story Text: United States soldiers have continued to patrol Tikrit,
the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Saddam's iron rule is over, his palaces have been
looted and he may even be dead, but some people are determined
to celebrate his birthday on Monday (April 28) in and around
his home town of Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad.
On the eve of Saddam Hussein's 66th birthday, U.S.
soldiers armed with spray cans blackened out a freshly painted
sign offering the former leader congratulations.
Rumours are rife that Saddam will even stage a "surprise"
for Iraqis on his birthday.
No one can say quite what that might be.
But one man said many Iraqis feared Saddam might return to
haunt them, possibly on his birthday.
Others dismissed such concerns out of hand.
"Saddam's return is impossible under these current
circumstances, under the presence of the American troops. I'm
sure that he will not come back," said one local resident.
Saddam had not attended his birthday celebrations in
Tikrit for years, apparently for fear of being assassinated.
But some local residents believed that even if he didn't
choose his birthday to return, he would come back some day.
"Saddam Hussein will come back and even if he won't
return, every honest child will be Saddam Hussein."
Any celebrations will certainly not match the
extravaganzas of previous years when lavish festivities across
the country lasted several days and featured dancing and
singing and marquees that lined the route from Baghdad to
At those celebrations tribal chieftains and members of
Saddam's ruling Baath party handed out sweets and portraits of
the president and the festivities culminated in a parade in
The parade ground is now home to a unit of the U.S. Army
4th Infantry Division and Saddam's house in Awja is a burnt
The shower cabinet in his bathroom has melted in the heat,
a huge chandelier lies smashed on the floor and sacks of
tomatoes and other vegetables are rotting in huge
Saddam's face once adorned every lamppost in Tikrit. Now
only the occasional portrait remains.
But Saddam still has some sympathisers in a region that
long benefited from the largesse of its most famous son and
which provided many top officials during his rule.
The appearance of graffiti supporting Saddam is a message
to U.S. forces that his shadow will stretch over Iraq as long
as he is not found dead or arrested by U.S. troops.
U.S. forces took control of Tikrit on April 14, facing
less resistance than expected. Even so, there was recently
shooting at a checkpoint in Tikrit and a U.S. soldier was
killed in a road accident heading to the scene on Saturday
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