BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed in Baghdad before sunrise Saturday morning, the Iraqi government announced.
Saddam went to the gallows at a secure location outside the fortified Green Zone, NBC News reported.
Barzani al-Tikriti, Saddam's half brother and former head of the security service, and Awad Hamed al Bandar, former chief justice of the revolutionary court, were scheduled to be executed with Saddam. But National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie told Iraqi television their hangings were postponed so the day would be remembered only for Saddam's end.
As dawn broke, Baghdad was quiet except for some gunfire from Shiite neighborhoods where Saddam's enemies celebrated the news.
The execution was witnessed by a few government officials.
The execution was carried out quickly once Saddam's appeal of his conviction and death sentence for the 1982 massacre of 148 Shiite men and boys in Dujail was rejected Thursday. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Friday there would be "no reviews or delays in the execution of the criminal Saddam."
A federal judge in Washington rejected a last-ditch attempt to block the execution through the U.S. courts.
Lead defense attorney Khalil al-Dulaimi said Friday the U.S. military had asked him to arrange for Saddam's personal belongings to be picked up. Saddam was allowed a visit with two of his half-brothers and gave them his will.
The Muslim holiday of Eid began at sunrise Saturday for Sunnis, so postponing the execution would have meant a delay of several days.