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Iraq TV shows Saddam meeting advisors

Iraqi television on Saturday night showed President Saddam Hussein chairing three meetings with top advisors on the war with the United States.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2003 02:00 IST

Iraqi television on Saturday night showed President Saddam Hussein chairing three meetings with top advisors on the war with the United States.

It showed Saddam in military uniform and said his aides "voiced satisfaction at the resistance and heroism displayed by the armed forces, fighters of the Baath Party and tribesmen" against US and British forces that thrust into southern Iraq.

It did not say where or when the meetings were held.

Iraqi Defence Minister Sultan Hashem Ahmed gave Saddam a report "on the situation at the battle fronts of Umm Qasr, the Fao peninsula and at Rumeila," the report said.

The pictures showed Saddam with his son Qussay, Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz and Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf.

It said Qussay attended two of the meetings, and that Salah Abboud, commander of Iraqi border forces, was at the third.

US Army General Tommy Franks, who is directing the war on Iraq, said earlier Saturday he was satisfied with the results of the three-day-old campaign so far but admitted that the whereabouts of Saddam, whom US President George W. Bush has vowed to drive from power, remained a mystery.

"I have no idea where he is right now," Franks told a news conference at Camp As-Saliyah, a computerized forward command facility in the Gulf state of Qatar.

"I imagine we'll know more in the days ahead," he said.

The United States launched the war in the early hours of Thursday with a missile strike on what US officials described as "leadership targets" in and around Baghdad in a bid to "decapitate" the regime.

"I don't know if he's alive or not," Franks said but insisted that the overall goal of the campaign was to cripple Saddam's full network of power.

"It's not about that one individual. It's about this regime," he said.

First Published: Mar 23, 2003 02:00 IST