BAGHDAD - U.S. troops briefly draped an American flag over the face of a giant statue of President Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad on Wednesday as they prepared to topple it in front of a crowd of Iraqis.
The gesture, likely to be highly provocative in much of the Arab world where the U.S. invasion of Iraq has stirred widespread anger, was quickly reversed and an Iraqi flag was tied instead to the statue's neck.
Local residents had earlier scaled the 20-foot (six meter) statue and slipped a noose around its neck to drag it down.
U.S. Marines place an American flag on a statue of Saddam Hussein, seen in this image from video, Wednesday, April 9, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq, as Marines help Iraqis trying to topple the statue. (AP Photo/APTN)
Copyright © 2003 Reuters Ltd