15 years ago, Iraqis rejoiced by toppling Saddam statue

PHOTO: US troops enter central Baghdad and topple the statue of Saddam Hussein, April 9, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq.PlayGamma-Rapho via Getty Images, FILE
WATCH 15 years ago, Iraqis rejoiced by toppling Saddam statue

Today marks 15 years since Iraqis celebrated the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime by toppling a statue of the longtime ruler in downtown Baghdad.

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Some of those celebrating beheaded the statue and embraced the American troops as liberators.

PHOTO: US Marines walk pass a dismounted statue of Saddam Hussein on Baghdads al-Fardous square, April 10, 2003.Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images
US Marines walk pass a dismounted statue of Saddam Hussein on Baghdad's al-Fardous square, April 10, 2003.

Saddam ruled for 23 years and committed numerous crimes before his ouster, which rendered him a fugitive with a $25 million bounty on his head.

In December 2003, the U.S. military confirmed Hussein's capture. At the time, President George W. Bush told Iraqis: "You do not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again."

PHOTO: US soldiers shoot a picture in front of the toppled statue of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, April 13, 2003, in Baghdad.Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
US soldiers shoot a picture in front of the toppled statue of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, April 13, 2003, in Baghdad.

Three years later, Hussein and two co-defendants were found guilty of murder and crimes against humanity, linked to the 1982 killings of 148 Shiite Muslims in the Iraqi town of Dujail. They were sentenced to death by hanging.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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