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Iraq to open new Saddam museum

In a bid to revive tourism

Saddam Hussein may have been despised by many but the Iraqi government still intends to memorialize him as it planned to open a museum filled with weapons, statues, paintings, furniture and artifacts that belonged to the nation's toppled dictator, officials announced Saturday.

The items collected and catalogued in the six years since the U.S.-led invasion are set to be handed back to the Iraqi government, which will consider a location for what would undoubtedly become a major attraction.

"This is what was found after the invasion," said Abdul Zahraa al-Talqani, a tourism and antiquities ministry spokesman. "These possessions are for the Iraqi people," he added and said that a committee would be formed to find a site for the museum.

"We will look for a big building. I think one of the presidential palaces in Baghdad probably will be the place of the museum," said Talqani, noting that clothes, documents and various gifts Saddam received from foreign leaders were also among the possessions.

I think one of the presidential palaces in Baghdad probably will be the place of the museum

Abdul Zahraa al-Talqani, Tourism ministry spokesman

Some of Saddam's artifacts are currently stored in the National Museum in Baghdad, which only reopened in February after it was looted in the days that followed the dictator's ousting. However these artifacts have not been displayed.

The U.S. military on Saturday said weapons belonging to Saddam were been stored at a depot in Taji, 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of Baghdad, but were transferred to an Iraqi warehouse at Abu Ghraib closer to the capital.

"The final goal is for these weapons to be displayed at a special museum with Saddam Hussein's artifacts," said U.S. army Major Franco Nieves.

"They will be displayed for all the people of Iraq, future generations and visitors from of all over the world to admire."

They will be displayed for all the people of Iraq, future generations and visitors from of all over the world to admire

Major Franco Nieves, U.S. army