Arrested on charges of spying for Israel, 14 men were secretly tried and convicted by a military court in Baghdad in the middle of December, 1968. When they were led out to be hanged and it was learned for the first time that 11 of them were Israeli Jews, the Israeli Government expressed outrage and protested to the UN, comparing Iraq to Nazi Germany.

The protests had no effect on the executions. On Saturday, January 27th, 1968, 11 of the hangings took place before a large, hastily convened crowd in Liberation Square, Baghdad, and the other three in Basra. All of them were televised. By the end of 1968, 60 or so further executions had taken place.

The man who was effectively running Iraq, although at this time it was from behind the scenes, was Saddam Hussain.