US on high alert in Iraq before Saddam execution

The Defense Department said Friday that US forces in Iraq are braced for any violence that may follow the execution of former President Saddam Hussein. "US forces in Iraq are obviously at a high state of alert anytime because of the environment that they operate in and because of the current security situation," said spokesman Bryan Whitman. "They'll obviously take into account social dimensions that could potentially led to an increase in violence which certainly would include carrying out the sentence of Saddam Hussein." Saddam has been in US custody since he was captured in December 2004, and his lawyers said Friday that he had been handed over to Iraqi authorities.