DEARBORN, Mich. – A crowd of Iraqi-Americans cheered and cried late Friday outside a mosque as some Arab media reported that Saddam Hussein was executed.
The crowd of more than 150 had gathered earlier in anticipation of Saddam's execution, praying for the death of the former Iraqi dictator as people honked car horns, sang and danced in celebration.
Chants of "Now there's peace, Saddam is dead" in English and Arabic rang into the night in this Detroit suburb.
Imam Husham Al-Husainy, the director of the center, said members of the center prayed for Saddam's death. Outside, traffic slowed as people drove in circles around the mosque, honking horns and flashing peace signs.
"This is our celebration of the death of Saddam," he said while standing on top of a car following reports that Saddam had been hanged. "The gift of our New Year is the murder of Saddam Hussein.
"If you want to share the Iraqi people's happiness for the death of Saddam, raise your voice and your hands."
The crowd responded with cheers.
The official witnesses to Saddam's impending execution gathered in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, as state television broadcast footage of his regime's atrocities.
Some Arab media, including Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya and the U.S.-financed Al-Hurrah, reported that Saddam had been executed. There was no confirmation from the Iraqi government.