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'New' Saddam Audiotape may be Old

'New' Saddam Audiotape may be Old

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CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Two Arab television channels aired on Tuesday audiotapes said to be by ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

However, while both Al Hayat-LBC and Al-Jazeera channels said the tapes were new, much of the content was identical to a tape received by the Sydney Morning Herald in May. The Australian paper broadcast that tape on its Web site.

The voice on the Tuesday tapes, which sounded like Saddam to journalists familiar with the fallen dictator, quoted him as delivering instructions for resistance to the U.S. and British forces.

"I appeal to you, O Iraqis, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, Shia or Sunni, Christians or Muslims, it is your duty to expel the aggressor invaders from our country," the purported voice of Saddam said on the broadcast by Lebanon's Al Hayat-LBC.

This quote was on the Sydney Morning Herald tape -- with identical wording in Arabic.

"The return to underground operations that we started from the beginning is the best way for Iraqis to achieve independence," the voice said on the broadcast by Qatar's Al-Jazeera. The voice added he was speaking "from inside glorious Iraq." These quotes were also on the Sydney Morning Herald tape.

"Unify your ranks and act as one hand," the voice said on the Al Hayat-LBC broadcast. "Boycott the occupying soldiers ... Act and do not let the occupying forces settle down in your land."

"He who favors division over unity, and acts to divide ranks instead of unifying them, is not only a servant of the foreign occupier but he is also the enemy of God and the people," the voice said on the Al-Jazeera broadcast.

"Go on, you Iraqis, as victory is near, God willing," the voice added on Al-Jazeera.

It was not immediately clear if the tapes broadcast by Al-Jazeera and Al Hayat-LBC were identical. One journalist who heard extracts from both broadcasts said they appeared to be the same recording.

Al-Jazeera broadcast extracts from a tape on July 4 that CIA analysts said was "most likely" the voice of Saddam, but they said the bad quality of the tape prevented them from being certain.

Al-Jazeera editor-in-chief Ibrahim Hilal said the tape aired Tuesday was received two days ago. "The tape doesn't carry any indication of when it was recorded," Hilal said.

At Al Hayat-LBC in Beirut, an official said a staffer in its Baghdad office found the Saddam tape in front of the door Tuesday morning. He played it and found it was a message from Saddam, the official said speaking on condition of anonymity.

The tape broadcast by Al Hayat-LBC was about 15 minutes long but the sound quality was so poor that it was hard to distinguish what the speaker was saying.

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

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