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New 'Saddam' Tape Praises Sons As Martyrs

New 'Saddam' Tape Praises Sons As Martyrs

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CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- A new audiotape attributed to Saddam Hussein and broadcast Tuesday on Arab satellite station Al-Arabiya acknowledges the death of the ousted dictator's two sons last week.

The tape -- the third attributed to Saddam this month -- begins with a verse from the Quran. The speaker says Odai and Qusai, killed in a gunfight with U.S. forces, would be martyrs in heaven.

"Even if Saddam Hussein has 100 children other than Odai and Qusai, Saddam Hussein would offer them the same path," the voice on the nine-minute tape said.

"Thank God for what he destined for us, and honored us with their martyrdom for his sake," the speaker said in the broadcast, which was monitored in Cairo.

The speaker said the recording was made in July 2003, but the exact date was not clear. Al-Arabiya said it received the tape Tuesday. The widely watched satellite station, which broadcasts across the Middle East, including in Iraq, aired the tape at least twice more after the initial play.

The CIA was reviewing the new message to determine if it was authentic, a U.S. intelligence official said. The speaker sounded like the voice in other recordings attributed to Saddam, with the same vocabulary, tone and calmness.

Odai, 39, and Qusai, 37, were killed July 22 in a gunbattle with U.S. troops who surrounded a villa in the northern city of Mosul, directed there by an Iraqi tipster.

The speaker called Odai and Qusai's deaths "good news, that is the hope of every fighter for God's sake, as another group of noble souls of the martyrs have ascended to their creator."

The speaker also referred to Mustafa, Qusai's teenage son who also was killed in the six-hour gunfight.

"Odai, Qusai, and Mustafa died in Jihad field ... in a brave battle with the enemy.

"The aggression armies surrounding them with all kinds of weapons and ground troops were not able to conquer them until they used their warplanes on the house that they were in," the speaker said.

The voice said Odai and Qusai died "for the sake of God, the nation, the people."

"Long live our glorified community, long live Iraq," the voice said. "Long live Palestine, free and Arab from the sea to the river. Shame and down with Zionism."

In an apparent reference to President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair and their war on Iraq, the speaker said: "Shame on the two liars, their collaborators, followers and agents."

The last audio recording attributed to Saddam was broadcast by Al-Arabiya on July 23 and claimed to have been recorded July 20. U.S. intelligence officials said it was probably authentic.

The other recording said Saddam was speaking on July 14 and referred to the new Governing Council of Iraq. U.S. intelligence officials said that recording also was probably authentic and was further evidence that Saddam survived the war.

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

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