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New Purported Saddam Tape Criticizes Recent Events in Iraq - 2003-07-17

An Arab television channel has broadcast an audiotape it claims is the voice of Saddam Hussein, criticizing recent events in Iraq. The tape was broadcast on the anniversary of the Baath Party's rise to power in Iraq.

The Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television network is broadcasting the tape, which calls for continued resistance against coalition forces. It also criticizes the newly appointed Iraqi Governing Council, and refers to the controversy over U.S. and British claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

This is the third such tape to be broadcast since Saddam Hussein fled Baghdad. There is no confirmation that the voice on any of the tapes is actually his.

The tape is apparently meant to mark the anniversary of the Baath Party seizing power in Iraq in 1968.

Baghdad's streets were quiet on the anniversary, even though many of the city's residents said they had heard Baath loyalists would mark the occasion by launching attacks against U.S. forces. There has been an increase in such attacks in recent days, but U.S. soldiers on patrol have reported no problems Thursday, amid increased coalition security.