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Purported Saddam message: Burn them in Baghdad

'We are determined to destroy them...on the walls of our capital'

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf

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CNN's Bill Hemmer talks to CNN's Rym Brahimi about the latest statement, delivered by the Iraqi information minister, that Iraq claims is from Saddam Hussein (April 4).
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A statement purported to be from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein contained a pledge Friday to defeat coalition forces "and destroy them on the walls" of Baghdad.

The statement was read by Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf on Iraqi television.

"Make the land of Islam a burning fire that burns their faces and feet wherever they pass," Sahaf said.

Electrical power remains out in most of Baghdad, so few Iraqis in the capital would have heard the statement and an earlier one said by Iraqis to be from Saddam and read by an Iraqi television anchor.

The latest statement, read by Sahaf, was addressed to "Dear brothers and sisters, dear beloved, dear fighters, dear friends everywhere." It read: "All invaders, when they were led by their demons, they targeted the capitals" and said the decisive battles would be there.

"But when the capitals held steadfast against them, they went back defeated and humiliated," the statement said. "We are determined to defeat them and destroy them on the walls of our capital, as we are determined to destroy their miserable armies in every Muslim spot."

Neither of the two statements provide clues to Saddam's fate. Defense and intelligence officials scrutinized his appearances on Iraqi TV since the two-week-old war began with a "decapitation attack" aimed at Saddam, his two sons and other top government officials.

The officials say it is likely all the appearances were recorded before the conflict, raising more questions about whether the Iraqi leader was killed or injured in that initial airstrike.(Full story)

In the statement read by the TV anchor, the Iraqi president called on Iraqis to stand firm, but said that those who cannot fight should give their place over to someone else who can.

"The situation does not allow half solutions," the statement said.

The statement also said the fight against coalition forces was an opportunity for Baath Party members and leaders to prove their loyalty.

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