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Saddam startles US, 'visits' Iraqi people

Iraqi TV on Friday showed Saddam Hussein being cheered in a street in Baghdad.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2003 11:23 IST

In the first footage of the Iraqi leader appearing in public since the start of the war on March 20, Iraqi television on Friday showed President Saddam Hussein being cheered on a street although his whereaboutshad been the subject of much speculation since Saddam appeared in olive green military garb on the main square of the al-Mansour residential neighbourhood of Baghdad, flanked by just a few bodyguards but packing a firearm in a holster.

The footage, which showed a scene in daylight, was broadcast at about 1730 GMT (1100 IST).

Smiling broadly, the Iraqi strongman accepted several kisses of his hand from the jubilant crowd, which chanted "With our blood and our souls, we shall redeem you" and "Bush, Bush, listen well, we all love Saddam Hussein".


Earlier, the Iraqi leader was shown on the state television on Friday evening addressing the nation.

Wearing a military uniform, he urged Baghdad residents to resist US forces closing in on the capital.

"Hit them with the power of faith wherever they come near you, and resist, oh brave inhabitants of Baghdad," the Iraqi leader said, reading out his message in a solemn tone.

"God willing, you will be victorious and they will be defeated," said Saddam, who last appeared on television on March 24.

First Published: Apr 04, 2003 23:06 IST