- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Federal customs agents say a pearl-handled AK-47 that belonged to Saddam Hussein is being sent back to Iraq.

The weapon had been in the hands of the U.S. Army. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the automatic rifle is chrome-plated and has a photo of Hussein near the sight.

ICE spokesman Lou Martinez said Friday that the Iraqi government had recently requested the return of the rifle. ICE traced it to Fort Lewis in Washington state.

ICE agent Peter J. Smith calls the AK-47 “a priceless symbol of Iraqi history.”

The Army had planned to put the weapon in a museum. Martinez says the military cooperated fully with its return.

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