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Purported Saddam Tape Urges Stronger Resistance

Purported Saddam Tape Urges Stronger Resistance

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- An audiotape purporting to carry the voice of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein was broadcast on Arab television Wednesday, calling for Iraqi men and women to step up their fight against the American occupation.

"You mujahedeen (holy warriors), Iraqis and women, increase your attacks on your enemies," the voice said. It resembled Saddam's voice, but there was no way to independently verify who was speaking.

The voice also called on Iraqis to take to the streets in demonstrations against the occupation, to "beat the walls in protest" and to donate money to the resistance.

The voice called on U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq immediately.

"We call on you to withdraw your armies as soon as possible and without any conditions or restrictions, because there is no reason for you to suffer more losses, which will be disastrous for the Americans," the voice said, claiming the recording was made in "mid-September."

The last purported Saddam tape was broadcast on Sept. 1 by the Al-Jazeera television network, and the CIA said it was likely authentic. In that message, the speaker denied Saddam or his followers were behind a bombing days earlier on a Shiite Muslim shrine in Najaf that killed a leading cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, and scores of others.

U.S. forces in Iraq have been plagued by guerrilla attacks blamed on Saddam followers since the Iraqi leader was ousted in April, hampering efforts to rebuild the country.

In an interview published Wednesday, the commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, told The Times newspaper in London that American soldiers now also face revenge attacks from ordinary Iraqis angered by the occupation.

As it aired the new tape on Wednesday, Al-Arabiya showed a file photograph of Saddam.

Al-Arabiya news editor Aymen Gaballah said the tape was received Wednesday in Baghdad. He said someone called the Al-Arabiya office in the Iraqi capital and told them that they had a tape of Saddam.

"They left the tape for us in a nearby place and we collected it," Gaballah said.

He said the tape was aired in its entirety, 14 minutes.

Speaking to Iraqis, the speaker on the tape said he was bringing "pleasant news": "The losses have begun to eat away at the enemy like must increase your grip and armed struggle."

He called on Iraqis to unite against the U.S.-led occupation, saying "We are one people, born as one and we fight as one."

The voice spoke with long pauses between thoughts and with the sound of papers rustling as if reading the message. He said a U.S. defeat was certain.

"Your withdrawal from our country is inevitable. And tommorow is not too far away," said the voice, calling on the United States to negotiate its withdrawal with Iraqi leaders it holds captive.

He said the U.N. Security Council should continue shunning American attempts to win international approval for its actions in Iraq.

"To the Security Council, I say that the full truth has been unveiled to you as (it has been) to international public opinion concerning the American administration's attempts to fake facts and hide the figures of its losses. We hope that none of the Security members will fall into the dark traps of America's policy."

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

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