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Purported Saddam tape: Uday, Qusay were martyrs
« on: July 29, 2003, 12:53:39 PM »
Purported voice of Saddam mourns sons
'Sons and brothers of the Iraqi people performing a jihad'

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) --The Arabic-language television network Al Arabiya on Tuesday broadcast an audiotape said to carry the voice of Saddam Hussein mourning the loss of his two sons.

On the tape, the speaker purported to be Saddam calls his sons "martyrs" and thanks God that they had the opportunity to die as they did July 22 during a fierce firefight with U.S. troops in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

"Your brothers Uday, Qusay and Mustapha, the son of Qusay, have all stood a great fight as believers, in Mosul. After a hard fight against the enemy ... the enemy could not get to them after surrounding them with all its equipment until they fired missiles," says the speaker. (Full story)

He adds, "If Saddam Hussein had the option to sacrifice other sons, other than Uday and Qusay, Saddam Hussein would have sacrificed them the same honorable way. It is our duty. It's a duty on every believer. Our freedom and patriotism call upon every believer to sacrifice themselves. We must be of those believers who make history and testify to our bravery."

CNN has not independently confirmed that the voice is that of Saddam Hussein.

If it is Saddam speaking, the tape's release indicates that the former Iraqi leader is making audiotaped references that are more and more timely.

The U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) permitted the release of photographs and videotapes of Uday and Qusay's bodies last week to convince Iraqis that the two were dead. (Gallery: Timeline of the attack; Profiles: Qusay Hussein, Uday Hussein)

It was also hoped that convincing proof of their deaths would curb attacks on U.S. troops by Saddam supporters and possibly lead to more tips on former Iraqi officials, including Saddam.

The coalition said Tuesday it has Saddam on the run. Early morning raids in Tikrit Tuesday netted a Saddam bodyguard and two associates of the deposed leader -- including a brigadier general thought to be a leader of a paramilitary group staging deadly attacks against U.S. forces, a U.S. military official said.

Backed by armored vehicles and helicopter gunships in the raids, the U.S. soldiers captured the longtime bodyguard from the "inner circle to [Saddam's] immediate family," according to Lt. Col. Steve Russell of the 4th Infantry Division. The Associated Press reported the man was identified as Adnan Abdullah Abid al-Musslit.

Al-Musslit struggled with soldiers and received some blows to the head. In video images shot by a CNN cameraman, blood could be seen seeping through a head covering.

A senior U.S. official told CNN al-Musslit had not seen Saddam or been close to him in months.

Also captured was a brigadier general who is believed to be a top official of the Fedayeen Saddam -- the same paramilitary group that plagued U.S. forces in hit-and-run attacks in southern Iraq during the early days of the war. Military officials told The Associated Press the general was Rafa Idham Ibrahim al-Hassan.

The other detainee is an ex-security manager for Saddam's palaces in the Tikrit area in north-central Iraq.

Tikrit is Saddam's ancestral hometown, where support of the former regime is strong

"It worked out very well," Russell said of the raids, adding that the military got "good and timely information" following some engagements with the Fedayeen Saddam and brought away a stash of documents.

U.S. officials said they are moving ever closer to the deposed dictator.

"Each time we do a successful operation it allows us to slap new pieces of the puzzle in," Russell said. "We get a clearer picture. We're able to get more information."

Sabotage reported
Saboteurs floated an explosive device down a Tigris River tributary Monday and detonated it under a bridge north of Baghdad, military officials said.

U.S. military engineers were repairing the bridge linking Tikrit and Ba'qubah at the time of the attack. They closed the bridge and a pontoon bridge downstream after the incident.

The Coalition Provisional Authority said Tuesday that railroad tracks had been targeted in the past week, as well.

In the first incident, on Thursday, a small bomb exploded in front of train heading north from Baghdad to Mosul but caused little damage. The train continued to the next station, the CPA said.

After the train left the area, the CPA said, the saboteurs apparently returned, removing about "two meters (yards) of track and a large section of bolts and ties," rendering that section of track -- about 153 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad -- impassable.

The second explosion occurred Saturday on a railroad bridge between Iskandariyah and Mahmodia, about 43 km (27 miles) south of Baghdad.

"The detonation made the bridge impassable," the CPA said, adding that a train near Al-Dhari, south of Baghdad, was robbed Sunday when the train's engineer stopped to avoid hitting a shovel on the tracks.

Saboteurs have previously attacked Iraq's already shaky infrastructure, including electricity plants, water installations and oil pipelines.

Other developments
• A soldier with the Army's 1st Armored Division was killed and three wounded Monday in central Baghdad when attackers dropped an improvised explosive device from an overpass onto a convoy traveling into the al Rashid district, U.S. Central Command said. The military said two of the wounded were released to their unit and the third was undergoing treatment. Since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1, 49 U.S. troops have died in hostile action. A total of 247 U.S. troops have been killed since the Iraq war began in March. (Interactive: U.S. deaths)

• Four military policemen accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners will face a hearing this week similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding, sources at Central Command said. The Article 32 hearing allows the accused to see evidence, cross-examine witnesses and present witnesses or evidence. The soldiers are with the Pennsylvania-based 320th Military Police Battalion, an Army Reserve unit that specializes in handling prisoners of war. The soldiers have been charged with assault, maltreatment of prisoners and dereliction of duty. Additionally, one of the soldiers faces an obstruction of justice charge, and the remaining three are accused of making false statements.

CNN Correspondents Chris Plante, Barbara Starr and Harris Whitbeck contributed to this report.

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