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Iraqis react to release of death photos

Iraqis watch television in Baghdad on Thursday as the provisional authority displays photos the United States released as evidence of the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein.
Iraqis watch television in Baghdad on Thursday as the provisional authority displays photos the United States released as evidence of the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein.

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Gallery: Photos released by the United States as evidence of the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein  (These images are very graphic and difficult to view and are not recommended for children and some adults. Viewer discretion is advised.)
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Many Iraqis said they believed that photographs released Thursday by the U.S.-led administration in Iraq showed the actual bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay.

The Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad released the pictures to Western news agencies on CD-ROM. Unlike previous pictures of the brothers, the faces shown in the newly released images have full beards and appear battered and bloody.

Many Iraqis were skeptical about U.S. reports on the deaths of the brothers, who were feared nationwide as ruthless killers and protectors of their father's dictatorship.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey said in an interview with CNN that releasing the photographs is necessary. "Normally, we would not do this," he said. "But I think it's necessary for the world to see and particularly for the Iraqis to see that these two are, in fact, dead, that this is not some ginned-up story from the United States." (Ethical questions)

Dr. Salah al Shamari, who identified himself as the Hussein family's plastic surgeon, said the pictures were "100 percent authentic."

"The pictures are definitely those of Uday and Qusay," al Shamari told Abu Dhabi Television Thursday.

"I was one of the closest people to Uday and Qusay, and I know their physical characteristics very well," he added. (Profiles: Qusay Hussein, Uday Hussein)

The CD with the released images also includes copies of X-rays that the United States said showed wounds Uday suffered in a 1996 assassination attempt. The X-rays were said to have helped U.S. forces confirm Uday's identity

"The X-rays of Uday's left leg shows a similarity to the ones I did for him in 1996," al Shamari said.

Baghdad residents who saw the photographs seemed stunned, but many said they now were convinced the brothers were dead.

"I'm sure it is both [of] them," one elderly man told CNN.

Another man -- a taxi driver who said his brothers were executed in 1982 in front of his mother because they regularly attended a mosque -- said he feels at rest because one of the photos showed a victim with eyes closed. That indicated that he died after suffering, the driver said.

One woman said she was sure Qusay was dead, but had doubts about Uday's photograph. She said she was happy when she heard both were killed, but wanted to make sure it was true.

In a Wednesday news conference, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, leader of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, detailed Tuesday's operation that killed the brothers, an assault that started with a gun battle on the stairs of a house in Mosul, northern Iraq, and ended with the firing of about 10 anti-tank missiles. (Gallery: Timeline of the attack)

The general said the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division and special operations forces played a role in the attack.

Iraqi police had a role in setting up a cordon around the area of the house in which Saddam's sons were said to be hiding, Sanchez said. (Map) Army .50-caliber machine guns and 10 Humvee-mounted TOW missiles were used in the assault and Sanchez said it's believed the missiles probably killed the brothers. (Details)

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