BAGHDAD — The bodies of the once-feared sons and a grandson of Saddam Hussein were exhumed and reburied closer to the late Iraqi leader's grave in the small northern town where he was born, tribal elders said Wednesday.
Tribal chief Ali Nida accompanied the bodies as they were taken about a mile from the cemetery in the town of Al Auja to a garden outside the hall where Hussein was interred after he was hanged Dec. 30. Three other relatives and three clerics also participated in the ceremony, said Salam Abdul Hassan, a member of Hussein's tribe.
Hussein's sons Uday and Qusai, along with Qusai's 14-year-old son, Mustafa, died in a 2003 gun battle with U.S. troops in the northern city of Mosul. They were reburied near the graves of Hussein's half brother and former intelligence chief, Barzan Ibrahim Hasan, and Awad Hamed Bandar, the former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, who were executed two weeks after the former Iraqi leader. The tribe said it wanted to keep the family together, wire reports said.
Hussein, Hasan and Bandar were sentenced to death for the killings of 148 Shiite Muslims from the town of Dujayl, where the former leader was the target of an assassination attempt in 1982.
Iraq's Shiite-led government had initially indicated that it wanted Hussein buried in a secret grave, but it deferred to the tribe's wishes to bury him in Al Auja.
A special correspondent in Tikrit contributed to this report.