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Senior Iraq Official Says Saddam Is Fine and In Control of Country - 2003-03-24


A senior Iraqi official says the Iraqi government remains intact and President Saddam Hussein is fine. The Iraqi leader has not been seen in public or on live TV since the allied attack began last week.

According to Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein is in full control of the army, the country and the leadership is in good shape.

For the first time since the war began last week, Mr. Aziz appeared on live television to say that one member of the Baath party leadership was killed in battle. But the rest, he said, are alive and are working efficiently

He said when advancing coalition forces arrive in Baghdad, they will be welcomed in the same way they were in Umm Qasr, al-Faw Peninsula and Nassiriya. The U.S.-led forces encountered stiff resistance in all three places in southern and central Iraq.

Mr. Aziz also denied U.S. allegations that a Russian firm had sold embargoed equipment to Baghdad to jam U.S. weapons guidance systems.

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