Iraq hanged 13 insurgents Thursday, marking the first time militants have been executed in the country since the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein nearly three years ago, the government said.

The Cabinet announcement listed the name of only one of those hanged, Shukair Farid, a former policeman in the northern city of Mosul, who allegedly confessed that he had worked with Syrian foreign fighters to enlist fellow Iraqis to carry out assassinations against police and civilians.

"The competent authorities have today carried out the death sentences of 13 terrorists," the Cabinet said.

It said Farid had "confessed that foreigners recruited him to spread the fear through killings and abductions."

In September, Iraq hanged three convicted murderers, the first executions since the 2003 ouster of Saddam. They were convicted of killing three police officers, kidnapping and rape.

Iraqi authorities reinstated the death penalty after the end of the U.S.-led occupation in June 2004 so they would have the option of executing Saddam if he is convicted of crimes committed by his regime.

He and seven co-defendants are on trial for allegedly massacring more than 140 people in Dujail, north of Baghdad, after an alleged assassination attempt against him in 1982.

Death sentences must be approved by the three-member presidential council headed by President Jalal Talabani, who opposes capital punishment. In the September executions and again in Thursday's hangings, Talabani refused to sign the authorization himself but gave his two vice presidents the authority.