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Attack on Hussein Inconclusive - 2003-03-21

It is still not clear if Saddam Hussein survived a U.S. attack on his compound, although Washington now believes a videotape of the Iraqi leader, broadcast a short time later, was authentic. Robert Raffaele has more.

A U.S. intelligence official says analysis of the voice on the tape indicates it is that of Saddam Hussein, and not a stand-in. But the tape sheds no light on his fate, because investigators cannot determine if it was recorded before the attack, which was launched during the first hours of the war.

The U.S. believes Hussein was inside the Baghdad compound, and was targeted because Washington suspected he was there with top Iraqi officials.

The Washington Post quotes a Bush administration official as saying it appears Hussein was injured after indications of an urgent call for medical attention on his behalf. ABC News, citing intelligence sources, reports he was seen leaving the compound on a gurney, wearing an oxygen mask.

The report also indicates there was a communication between Hussein and his command center, indicating he was wounded. It is still not clear if his two sons were in the building and were injured, or if they escaped the attack.

Friday, Iraq’s Information Minister said Hussein and his family survived a second wave of U.S. missile strikes in Baghdad. Iraqi radio says no one was hurt when missiles hit a house belonging to the Iraqi leader.