Haj pilgrims symbolically stone the devil, Saddam

Huge crowds of Muslims hurled pebbles at stone walls representing the devil in a purging ritual of the haj pilgrimage Saturday, as Saudi Arabia criticized Iraq for executing Saddam Hussein during the holy rites. News of Saddam's hanging before dawn quickly reached pilgrims, many of them notified by relatives at home by mobile phone or text message. A group of Iraqi Shiites passed around the news with joy as they walked to the three stone walls that they pelt with stones in a symbolic rejection of Satan. "Today we were stoning the devil, but we were also stoning Saddam," said Sayed Hassan Moussawi, an Iraqi Shiite cleric. "Everyone here is so happy. He killed so many men, women and children and he tormented Iraq's Shiites."