BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein underwent surgery about two weeks ago to repair a hernia and has made a full recovery, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
The ousted dictator was taken to the Ibn Sina hospital (search) near the U.S.-controlled Green Zone for the procedure, which was performed by Iraqi doctors, according to Iraqi sources close to the Human Rights Ministry.
The operation lasted about an hour and Saddam was returned to his cell the same day, the sources said on condition of anonymity.
"He was hospitalized a couple weeks ago for a routine hernia operation," a U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity. "The operation was successful, no complications, and it alleviated the discomfort he was feeling. This was surgery he elected to have."
The official said Saddam's health is good "with no major ailments or concerns."
In July, the Guardian newspaper in Britain and Newsday in New York quoted Iraq's human rights minister, Bakhtiar Amin (search), as saying Saddam was being treated for high blood pressure and a chronic prostate infection and was suffering from a hernia.
Doctors gave him antibiotics and performed tests to make sure he has nothing more serious, such as cancer.
"To be 100 percent sure, he has to do a biopsy," Newsday quoted Amin as saying. "He refused a biopsy. He didn't want to."
Saddam has been in U.S. custody since Dec. 13 when he was captured by American troops in a hole near his hometown of Tikrit (search). He is believed to be held in an American-guarded facility near Baghdad International Airport.
Saddam faces trial on at least seven charges, including killing rival politicians, gassing Kurds in 1988, invading Kuwait in 1990 and suppressing Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991. U.S. and Iraqi officials have differed on when a trial will begin, though it is not likely for months.
He appeared in court in July for a preliminary hearing.
A delegation of the International Committee for the Red Cross (search) met with Saddam in prison in early October, spokeswoman Nada Doumani said.