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Tape shows Saddam working a crowd

Second tape broadcast Friday

Saddam
Men purporting to be Iraqi President Saddam Hussein have been seen on Iraqi television four times since the war began.

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CNN's Nic Robertson reports that a man who appears to be Saddam Hussein works a crowd on a Baghdad street and, in a TV speech, exhorts his people to fight.
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CNN's David Ensor examines two new tapes released by Iraqi TV purporting to show Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A videotape aired Friday by Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. showed a man who appeared to be Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein walking the streets of Baghdad amid an excited, cheering crowd.

The broadcast marked the second time Friday that footage had been shown of Saddam. Earlier, in another prerecorded appearance on Iraqi television, Saddam exhorted his followers to fight the U.S.-led invasion "with what you have available."

The Iraqi leader was the target of the first U.S. airstrike, and top U.S. officials have repeatedly questioned whether he survived the raid.

But Baghdad's public relations salvos may be having more of an effect on world opinion than on the Iraqi people because television broadcasts in Iraq are "sporadic," according to the Pentagon.

"Sometimes it's on, sometimes it's off, so I have no idea what they're (the Iraqi people are) actually seeing," Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said Friday.

"We find it interesting that if Saddam Hussein is alive, he finds it necessary to walk in the street," Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal said at Friday's Pentagon briefing.

Analysts said it would be very uncharacteristic for him to walk in the midst of a crowd, allowing people to touch him on all sides.

That hasn't happened for at least three years, although he does appear in public on occasion.

All Saddam's television appearances since the war began have been prerecorded, but in the Iraqi television tape he referred to incidents that happened after the start of the war for the first time.

U.S. experts plan to analyze that tape, but White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Friday it "doesn't matter" whether the video was genuine.

"Whether it is him or whether it isn't him, the regime's days are numbered and coming to an end," Fleischer said.

Pentagon officials said Thursday their analysts had concluded it was likely all the Saddam videotapes broadcast since the war's opening salvos had been recorded earlier.

In Saddam's most recent television appearance, some members of the throng that surrounded him held rifles aloft as the Iraqi president worked his way through the crowd, smiling broadly.

A man walking next to him appeared to be Abid Hamoud, Saddam's press secretary.

Saddam
This image taken from Iraqi TV Friday claims to be of Saddam greeting supporters in Baghdad.

In one shot, what appears to be a column of smoke can be seen, and from time to time a large volume of automobile traffic is visible.

It is not known when that footage might have been taped, but it appears to have been shot on the western outskirts of the capital, close to the Jordanian Embassy.

A Pentagon spokesman pointed out that many people in the crowd were wearing sweaters or coats, when Baghdad temperatures currently reach the high 90s.

Though it was prerecorded, the tape was touted as "live" coverage.

CNN correspondents Nic Robertson and Rym Brahimi contributed to this report.


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