BAGHDAD, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) — Iraq’s ousted president Saddam Hussein was defiant and calm, refusing to have a hood pulled over his head while he was led the gallows shortly after 6 a.m. (0300GMT) on Saturday. Iraqi state-run television, al-Iraqia, released videotape of Saddam final moments before execution. The video showed Saddam, wearing a white shirt without a tie and a dark overcoat, being led to the gallows with a calm and defiant face and was chatting with his two masked hangmen who placed the noose around his neck. The Iraqi television later showed footage of Saddam in a white shroud lying with his neck twisted to one side at an awkward angle, with what appeared to be blood or a bruise on his left cheek. Before the rope was put around his neck, Saddam shouted: "God is the greatest. Long live the nation and Palestine is Arab," Sami al-Askari, the political adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, told the Iraqi channel. The execution took place at an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, once was Saddam’s main military intelligence headquarters.

Vatican City, Vatican (AHN) – The Vatican on Saturday strongly condemned the execution of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and termed it ‘tragic’.In a statement issued by the Vatican press office, a Vatican official said: "An execution is always tragic news, reason for sadness, even in the case of a person who is guilty of grave crimes."Saying that the execution could trigger a wave of revenge, the official said, "There is a risk of setting off a wave of revenge and sowing new seeds of violence." The killing of the guilty was not the way to re-establish justice and reunite society, the spokesman said.

On Nov. 5, a panel of five Iraqi judges sentenced Saddam, his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and Iraq’s former chief judge Awad Ahmed al-Bandar to death by hanging for the killing of 148 people in Dujail, some 60 km north of Baghdad after a failed assassination attempt in 1982.

    Both Tikriti and Bandar are to be hanged after the four-day Islamic festival Eid al-Adha, or Greater Bairam, officials said.

    On Thursday, the Iraqi appellate court chief announced that the court had upheld the death sentence for Saddam Hussein. The governor of Saddam’s Salahudin province, his deputy and the Sheikh of Albu Nasir tribe, which Saddam belong, arrived Baghdad late on Saturday to receive the body of Saddam Hussein and to bury him in Uwja village near the tombs of Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay who were killed by the U.S. troops in Mosul in 2003.

    A spate of car bombs hit Baghdad and the Shiite town of Kufa south of Baghdad, killing a total of 73 people and up to 147people, hours after Saddam Hussein was executed.

    A car bomb detonated at a popular market in Kufa town near Najaf, killing up to 36 people and wounding 77 others, according to the latest police reports.

    Earlier, the police said that at least 30 were killed and 45others wounded in the attack in the town, some 160 km south of Baghdad.

    A triple car bomb attack struck Baghdad’s northern neighborhood of Huriyah, killing 34 people and wounding 58 others, the police said.

    Earlier, police reports said that at least 15 people were killed and 25 others wounded when the attack took place in the afternoon.

    A fifth car bomb detonated in Saidiyah district in southern Baghdad, killing a civilian and wounding four.

    A sixth car bomb parked near the Iskan Hospital in the Baghdad neighborhood of Iskan went off killing two people and wounding eight others.

    There was no evidence that the attacks were mastermind by Saddam followers to avenge his death as the country has plunged into civil strife since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

    The serial bombing attacks were carried out hours after the Iraqi government executed former leader Saddam Hussein by hanging at dawn on Saturday.

    Saddam, born on April 28, 1937 and deposed in the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, was handed over on Friday to the Iraqi authorities from a U.S. camp near Baghdad International Airport where he had been held.