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Letter From Saddam?

Letter From Saddam?

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CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- A London newspaper published a letter Saturday purportedly written by Saddam Hussein, urging Iraqis to wage holy war against American and British troops. The letter's authenticity, however, is in doubt.

The newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, published photographs of the two-page letter, but its handwriting and tone do not match the style of documents known to be written by Saddam.

The newspaper, known for supporting Saddam, published another letter April 30 also allegedly written by the ousted Iraqi president.

The newspaper's editor, Abdel Bari Atwan, said he was faxed Saturday's letter, dated May 7, on Friday.

"I think it is written by Saddam Hussein. We had received a communique from the Iraqi Resistance and Liberation (group) and they said they would issue two letters," Atwan told The Associated Press.

"We are not 100 percent sure, but I believe the letters are as close to being authentic as can be," Atwan said.

Saturday's letter differed from known samples of Saddam's writings in two respects. The Arabic script inclined upward across the page while Saddam's writing is level; and the phrases did not sound like Saddam.

The letter opens with a verse from the Quran, the Islamic holy book, and urges Iraqis to rebel against the occupying forces.

"The jihad (holy war) of your brothers has started to inflict perpetual losses on the American and British criminal enemies," the letter says.

"I call on you, oh, sons of Iraq, to make the mosques a center of resistance and triumph for religion, Islam and the nation, and to make the enemy feel they are hated."

The letter accuses American and British troops of looting Iraqi antiquities, bank vaults and oil. It also attacks Kuwait, which hosted coalition forces, as the "dissolute, liar and treacherous Kuwait regime."

Saddam's fate and whereabouts are unknown.

Last week, an audiotape allegedly made by Saddam was given to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. There was no way to confirm if the voice on the tape was Saddam's, though the accent and phrasing resembled his.

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

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