New purported Saddam tapes aired
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Abu Dhabi TV broadcast a videotape Friday showing a man said to be deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein greeting supporters on April 9 -- the day the capital fell -- as well as an audiotaped message calling on Iraqis to battle the U.S.-led forces that control most of Iraq.
"We are confident that victory at the end will be ours," the statement, broadcast on Abu Dhabi TV, told Iraqis.
In the videotape, a man who appears to be Saddam climbs onto the hood of a car and waves to a cheering crowd in the Azamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad. Saddam's son, Qusay, also appears to be visible in the tape. The network did not disclose the source of the tape and there was no way to verify its authenticity.
Both tapes were said to have been made on April 9, the day on which U.S. troops and Iraqis pulled down a key statue of Saddam in Baghdad's central Firdos Square.
U.S. intelligence analysts told CNN they have questions about the authenticity of a previously released videotape that appeared to show Saddam greeting supporters in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood. That tape was said to have been made on April 4, but those officials said they believe it was made much earlier. (Story on previously released tape)
Iraqi weapons official surrenders to U.S.
The man believed to have lead Iraq's program to produce VX nerve gas turned himself in to U.S. authorities Friday, U.S. officials told CNN. Imad Hussayn al Ani was not one of the top wanted Iraqi officials.
Al Ani is denying any knowledge about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, officials said.
"He was a Baath Party official, a regional command chairman for the Baghdad district and is believed to have firsthand knowledge of the Baath Party central structure," Brooks said. (Full story)
Meanwhile, Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti, Iraq's former Secretary of the Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard, is one of several senior Iraqi leaders believed to have escaped from Iraq into Syria, Pentagon officials told CNN Friday. (Full story)
Kamal Sultan is number eight on the U.S. list of the top 55 most wanted Iraqis and is the "Queen of Clubs" in the deck of playing cards distributed to U.S. troops.
The U.S. considers Kamal Sultan to be a war crimes suspect. Intelligence officials say he is a cousin of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein because his brother is married to one of Saddam's daughters.
While officials noted there are some conflicting reports about Kamal Sultans' whereabouts, they said most of the evidence suggests he is in Syria.
• Seven former U.S. prisoners of war waved and smiled Friday from a balcony at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, their first official appearance since U.S. Marines rescued them from Iraqi guards who held them as prisoners for three weeks. Officials at Ramstein Air Base said Friday that the POWs would return to the United States on Saturday. (Full story)
• In the Iraqi capital, thousands of Iraqis rallied near the center of Baghdad following Friday prayers, demanding an end to what they called a coalition "occupation" of their country. At a briefing at U.S. Central Command headquarters in Qatar, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said that Iraqis have a right to demonstrate in a free Iraq and that he expected them to voice a variety of opinions about the coalition presence.
• U.S. and British forces have released 887 Iraqi prisoners since March 20 from camps around Iraq. Those released were determined to be non-combatants, Pentagon officials said Friday. About 6,850 prisoners remain in custody, the Pentagon said, while coalition officials determine whether they should be classified as combatants or noncombatants.
• As many as 1,600 people may have buried in shallow graves found on the outskirts of a military base southwest of Kirkuk, local residents said. They told CNN's Jane Arraf that the graves are at least 12 years old. Coalition forces will work with the Iraqis to determine who is buried there, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks of U.S. Central Command said Friday. (Full story)
• The United States awarded California-based Bechtel Corp., one of the world's largest engineering, construction and development companies, a multimillion dollar contract for reconstruction in Iraq, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced Thursday. The contract provides $34.6 million for initial construction and allows for funding of up to $680 million over 18 months. The funding is "subject to congressional authority and availability," according to a USAID statement. Riley P. Bechtel, the company's chairman and CEO, was appointed in February to the President's Export Council -- President Bush's advisory committee on international trade. (Full story)
• The chairman of a committee that advises the White House on protecting antiquities around the world has resigned over what he says is the U.S. failure to stop looting at Iraq's national museum. In a letter sent Monday to President Bush, Martin Sullivan, who headed the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee, said the "tragedy was foreseeable and preventable." Two other members, Gary Vikan and Richard Lanier, also resigned in protest. (Full story)
• The international law enforcement agency Interpol announced Friday that it had formed a "special incident response team" to hunt down art and antiquities stolen from Iraqi museums and those responsible for the thefts. The United States also plans to send FBI agents to Iraq to assist with criminal investigations against people who looted museums and other sites.
• Vials of poliovirus stolen during looting of Iraq's central public health laboratory likely do not pose an immediate health risk, the World Health Organization said Friday. Iraq has been polio-free for more than two years, and it is not likely that the cultures in the incubators contained wild poliovirus, according to the report. Thursday, looters ransacked the laboratory, Iraq's version of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vials, syringes and papers were strewn across the courtyard, the work of looters who did not yield to the urgent hand-scrawled messages on the lab's front gate warning of "pollution," "biohazard" and "danger." (Full story)
• The Czech Republic is sending humanitarian aid workers and equipment to Iraq -- including a field hospital with 281 staffers and a water treatment facility that can produce up to 26,000 gallons of drinkable water per hour. The Czech Parliament also has authorized about 400 Czech weapons experts -- who had been stationed in Kuwait -- to operate in Iraq.
CNN correspondents Ben Wedeman, Christiane Amanpour, Jim Clancy, Michael Holmes, Tom Mintier, Nic Robertson, Barbara Starr, Jamie McIntyre and David Ensor contributed to this report.
EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN's policy is to not report information that puts operational security at risk.