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Iraqi Immigrants in Utah Celebrate

Iraqi Immigrants in Utah Celebrate

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Sandra Yi reporting Iraqi immigrants here in Utah are also celebrating - after hearing the news of Saddam Hussein's capture. It is an historic day, for Iraqi immigrants. They fled their country and Saddam's regime. Now they can safely return home to their families.

Haji Aluqaili: "I saw the news, I was so happy."

Haji Aluqaili heard the news, early this morning. His first reaction was disbelief. Now, he's certain Saddam Hussein's regime is over.

Haji Aluqaili, Iraqi Immigrant:: "When I say his face, yeah, I believe. When he reacts, when he's moving.That's Saddam Hussein, That's him."

Aluqaili's 5 siblings and mother are still Baghdad. Like many in his country, he says, they too, are celebrating.

Haji Aluqaili: "I called my family. They were so happy. They were dancing. They throw candy to everybody. They were dancing and they were so happy."

Today, his thoughts are also with his nephew. He was only 15 when he died, during the uprising in 19-91. Aluqaili was with him - when his nephew was shot in the head by one of Saddam's soldiers. An Iraqi newspaper only recently published his story and picture.

Haji Aluqaili: "Before, nobody can say anything. Everything is hide. Now they have free media back home, different newpaper."

Haji Aluqaili: "I'm so happy. I'm so happy when they saw his picture because people, they don't know. They know what we did during 1991. That's why we hate Saddam Hussein. We don't need someone like him in power again.."

Now, Aluqaili watches news footage of a bearded and haggard looking Saddam Hussein, with a sense of peace. He says it was only a matter of time, before Saddam was found. He's just relieved, he was captured alive.

Haji Aluquaili: "If he defends himself or kills himself, people, they think he's a hero. Look at him, he's a coward."

Even as controvery surrounds President Bush's decision to go to war, Aluqaili says he's very grateful for the President and the American troops. He just got his passport and plans to visit his family next month.

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