Bush given Saddam's gun as souvenir of capture

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The Independent Online

President George Bush is boasting of an unusual piece of memorabilia brought back from Iraq: the pistol clutched by Saddam Hussein when he was discovered by American soldiers in a spider hole outside his home town of Tikrit after the war.

President George Bush is boasting of an unusual piece of memorabilia brought back from Iraq: the pistol clutched by Saddam Hussein when he was discovered by American soldiers in a spider hole outside his home town of Tikrit after the war.

Military officials had the handgun mounted after it was seized from the dishevelled and disoriented Iraqi dictator in his underground hideout in al-Dawr in December.

The soldiers involved in the capture later presented it to the United States President, who keeps it in a study off the Oval Office, according to Time magazine.

He also keeps there a photograph of US special forces in Afghanistan praying after burying a piece of the World Trade Centre in tribute to the victims of the 11 September attacks of 2001.

"He really liked showing it off," a White House visitor who had seen the gun was quoted as saying. "He was really proud of it."

Mr Bush has told select visitors that the gun was not loaded when Saddam was captured, contrary to reports at the time.

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