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Saddam Vows to Resist US-Led Attack - 2003-01-17

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein vowed Friday that his country is ready to resist any U.S.-led attack.

Saddam Hussein called on his people to raise their swords and guns and said he has prepared military and civilian resistance plans against a possible U.S.-led attack on Iraq. He vowed that any invaders would be defeated at the gates of the capital, Baghdad.

Mr. Hussein's address, which was broadcast on state television, came on the anniversary of the start of the Gulf War in 1991. He said America failed to conquer Iraq in that war and was incapable of learning from its past mistakes.

The speech comes amid a buildup of U.S. and British forces in the Gulf region and a day after United Nations arms inspectors found empty warheads capable of delivering chemical weapons.

An Iraqi official downplayed the discovery, saying the warheads are too old to be usable and had long been forgotten.

The United States says it is awaiting further details about them before deciding how to react. One U.S. official said the warheads were not a smoking gun that would incite war but samples were taken away for testing.

President Bush has said he is ready to send forces into Iraq if the country does not give up all its banned weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, U.N. inspectors continued their hunt for banned weapons, which began in November. Reuters news agency reported that arms teams visited at least three sites Friday, two of them northwest of the capital and one other south of Baghdad.