Iraq bans visits to Saddam Hussein's grave

Iraq bans visits to Saddam Hussein's grave

Iraqi authorities banned Sunday visits to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's grave in Salahudin province.

"The Iraqi cabinet directed authorities of Salahudin province to take all necessary measures to prevent any visit to Saddam Hussein's grave," a source from the provincial operations command told Xinhua.

The provincial authorities sent a police force early in the morning to seal off the building that contains the grave and prevented anyone from visiting it, the source said.

In mid-2009, the Iraqi government banned all organized visits of people and schoolchildren to his grave amid concerns over increasing support for the late leader and his banned Baath Party.

Saddam Hussein was ousted as the president following a US-led invasion in 2003. His body, along with those of his two sons and other relatives, is buried in his hometown of al-Ouja near Salahudin's provincial capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad.

Hussein was executed in 2006 after an Iraqi court sentenced him to death for crimes against humanity.