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Iraq: U.S. will be defeated

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf
Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf called coalition leaders "liars" and "outlaws."

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Hours after Iraq's vice president bragged that his country was winning the war, video of what appeared to be captured U.S. soldiers was broadcast Sunday on the Arabic language, Qatar-based TV news network Al-Jazeera.

Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, who was initially rumored to have been killed during Thursday's "decapitation attack" on Baghdad, told reporters Sunday that video of American prisoners would be shown on Iraqi television.

"In a few hours time, you will see the American captives on Iraqi television, ... and you will see the burnt armor and vehicles," said Ramadan.

Pentagon officials later confirmed that Iraqi forces had captured or killed fewer than 10 U.S. soldiers near Nasiriya after going astray. The process of informing the soldiers' families has begun, officials said.

Iraqi television questioned the soldiers, two of whom appeared to have been wounded. One of the wounded soldiers was a woman. Al-Jazeera broadcast a tape of what appeared to be five U.S. soldiers asked to identify themselves and their home state.

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the soldiers' appearance a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

"This is just one more crime by the Iraqi regime," a grim-faced Myers told reporters at the Pentagon shortly after the capture had been confirmed.

"We expect them to be treated humanely," President Bush told reporters.

Late Sunday, Al Arabiya, an Arabic-language news network based in Dubai, reported that Iraq has agreed to respect the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of prisoners of war.

Asked if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had been injured in Thursday's attacks, Ramadan replied, "I think for the past four days you have seen the president on television more than once."

Ramadan, the most senior Iraqi official to give a live press conference since Thursday, also lashed out at U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"The secretary-general and his conduct ... did not reflect the wishes of the majority in the Security Council but rather behaved as if he was an employee in the U.S. State Department," Ramadan said.

In another news conference Sunday, Iraq's information minister said coalition forces, not Iraqis, were in "shock and awe" and would remain that way "until they are defeated." U.S. officials have called the bombing of Baghdad part of its campaign of "shock and awe."

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf also said the situation in the Iraqi port city of Umm Qasr -- taken by British troops Saturday but still the site of fighting as U.S. Marines try to flush out resistance -- differed from its portrayal in Western media reports.

"Those Iraqi fighters, those heroes at Umm Qasr, are teaching the American and British invaders a lesson," he said. "Those Iraqi fighters are slapping those gangsters on the face, and then when they flee, they will kick their backsides."

"The resistance is continuing," al-Sahaf said. "They have entered this quagmire, and they will not be able to leave it in one piece."

Al-Sahaf said Iraqi forces were defeating American and British troops across the south of Iraq.

"The aggressors have retreated after they were taught a lesson and after they incurred many losses," he said.

On Saturday, al-Sahaf said more than 200 civilians had been injured in the U.S.-led bombing of Baghdad.

Al-Sahaf described coalition leaders as "liars" and "outlaws" and said everything the U.S. military had reported so far was propaganda.

He said the United States was so desperate to show progress that it "kidnapped" thousands of Iraqi civilians and forced them to dress up like soldiers, pretending to surrender to coalition forces in the oil-rich Faw peninsula of southern Iraq.


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