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Iraqi TV Back On Sporadically

Iraqi TV Back On Sporadically

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's state-run television made its way back on the air Wednesday despite allied air assaults that knocked out the signal for hours at a time.

U.S.-led forces began targeting Iraqi TV facilities in hopes of preventing Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials from disseminating propaganda and military commands as coalition troops rumble toward Baghdad. In one broadcast this week, Saddam exhorted his people to cut the throats and fingers of advancing allied troops.

After coalition bombs and missiles bore down on Iraqi communications facilities early Wednesday, Iraq's satellite TV signal went dark. Smoke was seen next to the Information Ministry and the Iraqi TV building, which appeared to have sustained direct missile hits.

But the satellite channel, which broadcasts 24 hours a day outside Iraq, went back on the air Wednesday afternoon. And Iraq's domestic state-run television service, which does not broadcast around the clock and was not on the air during the bombing, resumed broadcasting Wednesday morning as scheduled.

Television, like state radio, constantly played patriotic songs and messages of support for Saddam.

A British Broadcasting Corp. reporter in Baghdad said Iraqi TV also showed pictures of the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank and a "picture of Bill Clinton blowing up." The reporter, Andrew Gilligan, said the pictures were "not great," and appeared to come from a transmitter far from the main ones.

However, one key channel was missing: Al-Shabab television, the station that is owned by Saddam's son Odai and is usually transmitted from the state television building.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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