Sat, Jul 26, 2003 - Page 1 News List

US morticians show Hussein brothers' bodies


US military morticians and forensic pathologists showed reporters the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein yesterday and said each body contained more than 20 bullet wounds.

The bodies had been prepared for funeral viewing by US military morticians, with their faces partially restored. The two sons of Saddam Hussein were trapped and killed inside a villa in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday.

US authorities said they had sent tissue samples from both bodies -- taken from bone and muscle -- to a military lab in Washington for DNA testing.

Both brothers had multiple scrapes, abrasions and burns. Uday was believed to have died from a blow to the head. Qusay had two bullet wounds to his head, in and just behind his right ear, doctors and medical officials said. They said they did not think the wounds were self-inflicted.

US officials said the bodies would be kept in refrigeration at Baghdad International Airport until a family member came forward to claim the brothers -- two of the most feared men in Iraq and Nos. 2 and 3 on the American list of most-wanted.

The US civil administration in Iraq was still talking to the country's Governing Council about how to preserve the bodies according to Islamic custom, which calls for burial as soon as possible. Typically, Muslims are buried before nightfall the day they die.

US medical personnel told reporters they had treated the bodies with the same respect they would have accorded any corpse.

A final report on their deaths was expected within four to six weeks, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

Surgeons removed the metal rod that was placed in one of Uday's legs during reconstructive surgery after a 1996 assassination attempt and displayed it to reporters. They said the serial and model number on the eight-inch rod matched data they had about it.

Many Iraqis remained unsure that the two sons of the former Iraqi dicatator were dead, even after being shown grisly photos taken by American soldiers.

It might be, however, that little short of putting the bodies on public display in Baghdad would convince some Iraqis. Decades of fear and lies under Saddam and deep suspicion of American motives in occupying their country made them a tough audience.

Power cuts and broadcasting difficulties permitting, Iraqis had a chance to see the photographs of brothers Uday and Qusay's bloodied heads on satellite television on Thursday, two days after the Americans said they were killed in an hours-long siege of a hideout in the northern city of Mosul.

Iraqi newspapers were not available in Baghdad yesterday morning as local people attended weekly prayers at mosques. But editors said they would publish the American photographs.

One appeared to show the bearded, shaven-headed Uday, 39, a feared and hated rapist and torturer, with a gaping wound obliterating part of his nose and upper lip. Another seemed to show Qusay, 37, Saddam's heir apparent, also bearded, his mouth hanging open. Blood trickles congealed inside an ear.

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