US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that Saddam Hussein's hanging should have been handled with dignity and hoped those responsible for the way it was carried out were punished. Her comments were the strongest denunciation by U.S. officials about the manner of Saddam's execution. Rice, during a press conference with her Egyptian counterpart, also gave the first US reaction to the executions of two of Saddam's top aides, who were hanged before dawn Monday. "Let me just say that the decision concerning the execution of Saddam Hussein and the two defendants today were made according to Iraqi process and Iraqi law," she said. Rice did not make specific reference to the hanging of Saddam's half brother, Barzan Ibrahim, whose head was severed from his body during the execution.