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Iraqi Rebels Consolidate Grip on Nation Following Coup

Feb. 9, 1963 - Iraq’s rebel leaders executed Premier Abdel Karim Kassem (pictured) by firing squad yesterday, Baghdad radio announced, and they appeared to be consolidating their grip on the oil-rich Middle East nation. Communist agents were ordered annihilated by the new regime. “The mad dictator has been trampled beneath the feet of the people,” screamed a woman over the radio after the official announcement of Kassem’s death. The broadcast said Kassem, who boasted 2 months ago of having escaped 38 attempts on his life, was tried by a military tribunal and then executed with three of his lieutenants, one of them a communist agent. Within an hour after Kassem’s death, pictures of his body were shown on television in Baghdad. Iraq’s borders remained sealed, but indications mounted that the young, pro-Nasser army officers who toppled Kassem’s four-and-a-half-year-old regime Friday were masters of the situation.


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