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British Media, “Hussein Escaped Just Before Bombing”

British Media, “Hussein Escaped Just Before Bombing”

Posted April. 09, 2003 21:57,   


Only one day after U.S. forces suggested President Saddam Hussein was likely killed by precision guided bombs, speculation is growing that he is still alive. U.S. media reported the likelihood of the fate of Hussein but the British media vehemently left it in doubt.

The U.S. media reported that “Saddam, as well as his two sons, were probably killed” immediately after U.S. forces bombed a location in central Baghdad district of Mansour where Saddam was presumably hiding out. Leading British dailies denied it for the most part.

"He was probably not in the building when it was bombed," reported the Guardian Unlimited, quoting British intelligence sources, saying that the information which stated that Hussein was meeting his eldest son Uday and second eldest son Qusay along with high ranking government officials in a building in Mansour was obtained from three sources. The Guardian Unlimited reported that “according to the British intelligence agency, Hussein had probably been in the building until just before the bombardment.”

“British intelligence agency M16 reported to the CIA that Hussein had left the targeted building just before the bombing.” The newspaper also reported that “it was not clear whether Hussein made his way out through an underground tunnel or by car.”

The air raid commenced 45 minutes after the U.S. received information that Hussein would be convening a meeting in a building in Mansour.

Hussein who used to show himself on the Iraq TV to prove his well being whenever rumors about his fate spread has not appeared on Iraq TV since Monday`s air raid. The Iraqi government owned TV station aired footage of Hussein surrounded by his supporters on Tuesday but it did not broadcast afternoon programs.

It will take several days for the U.S. to establish the identity of the dead since the ruined area of Mansour is still under the control of Ba`ath party members.

Meanwhile Kurdish newspaper Kurdistany Nu-e reported that “Hussein may be in his hometown Tikrit along with his two sons.”

The interest in the fate and whereabouts of President Hussein is escalating as the Egyptian news agency MENA also reported that “Hussein arrived in Mosul, northern Iraq”. Hussein is known to only divulge his whereabouts to his second eldest son Qusay and his chief of security.

Sue-Jean Kang sjkang@donga.com