The tomb of Saddam Hussein has been destroyed by skirmishes for territorial control over Tikrit between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State group.
In a footage taken by the Associated Press, the late dictator’s mausoleum found in the village of al-Awja has been reduced to nothing but pillars.
Saddam Hussein’s grave is said to have been placed in the middle of the mausoleum, but a report from BBC news claim that the Sunni population had removed the dictator’s body just last year and kept it in an unspecified location.
North and south sides of Tikrit stood witness to an intense battle as security forces from Iraq fight their way to the center of the city and drive away the Islamic State group, which had gained control over the area since June.
“This is one of the areas where IS militants massed up the most because Saddam’s grace is here,” said Captain Yasser Nu’ma said. According to the Associated Press, he belongs to the Shiite militias as an official.
The Islamic State group had already claimed that the tomb has been destroyed since August last year, but conflicting reports from local officials said it was only looted and burned without suffering any major damages.
“The IS militants’ set an ambush for us by planting bombs around the palace,” Yasser Nu’ma continued.
Officials fighting for the Iraq war view the capture of Tikrit as one of the most important steps to be taken to recapture other territories held by the IS such as Mosul.