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CNN BREAKING NEWS

New Audiotape Has Surfaced

Aired July 23, 2003 - 05:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news into our newsroom right now. A new audiotape has surfaced. On it, apparently the voice of Saddam Hussein.
We want to bring out international editor in, Eli Flournoy -- tell us about this tape.

ELI FLOURNOY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL EDITOR: Yes, Al-Arabia Network, this is a Saudi funded Arabic network, has been running, as you can see there, the picture that they have been showing of Saddam Hussein with a voice purported to be Saddam Hussein's over it, speaking now just the next day after the killing of Uday and Qusay, Saddam Hussein's sons.

Now, we are looking at the tape right now and trying to verify the voice and the text of what's on it. But so far what we have heard on the tape, Saddam Hussein talking about, or what's purported to be the voice of Saddam Hussein talking about revenge, calling on Iraqis to exact revenge on the coalition forces, the regime, as he calls them, saying that the regime will fail, that there will be retaliation against the regime.

But, again, this is just coming out right now. We're looking at it right now...

COSTELLO: And we don't have the total translation as of yet...

FLOURNOY: No.

COSTELLO: So we don't know if he mentions at all the deaths of Uday and Qusay.

FLOURNOY: No, exactly, we don't. So we're still taking a look at it and we should caution to say that we have not verified that this is, in fact, Saddam Hussein's voice.

Now, we should mention, though, that July 8 there was an audiotape which was believed by experts to be Saddam Hussein's voice coming out, speaking out against the regime, calling on many of these same things, calling for revenge, calling for retaliation against the invasion and occupation of invaders, as he calls them.

So, we're taking a look at it and we'll keep you posted as we get more information on that tape.

COSTELLO: All right, we'll let you get back to work so you can get back to us within the next few minutes, hopefully. FLOURNOY: Yes.

COSTELLO: Eli Flournoy, many thanks.

Well, let's go live to Baghdad now and CNN's Rym Brahimi.

We want to start with the attack in Ramadi, you know, the one I mentioned where U.S. troops again came under attack earlier this morning.

Live there now -- Rym, are you there?

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm here, Carol, indeed.

Well, actually, there were two attacks this morning, one in the town of Ramadi, as you mentioned, which is towards the west with regard to Baghdad. And one U.S. soldier was killed there, two others wounded when their vehicle actually basically blew up after, over, after it ran over an explosive device.

Now, the reason I'm hesitating a little is because we tend to think that sometimes this could have been a land mine or they could have just driven over a bomb that was planted there. But now that we've been seeing more and more of what's known as an explosive device that's remotely controlled, and that could be one of those.

And then earlier, two hours before that happened, in fact, in the city, near the city of Mosul, which is where Uday and Qusay Saddam Hussein were apprehended and killed, well, in that area, another soldier was killed and six others were wounded when their own vehicle also was basically drove over another explosive device.

So we have two soldiers killed today, as if maybe whoever is behind those attacks is saying well, the death of the two sons of Saddam Hussein will not change anything -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes, I know you can't answer this question, but everybody will believe that this was in retaliation for the deaths of Uday and Qusay, but those explosive devices could have been planted a lot earlier.

BRAHIMI: Well, yes, they could have been planted a lot earlier, because there seems to be a pattern there of regular attacks against U.S. soldiers, either by ambushing them and they fall under small arms fire or a rocket propelled grenade, or by the way of these small explosive devices, or not so small, in fact, explosive devices that blow up when the vehicle actually comes to the area.

So it could be that and it could not be, definitely -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Rym Brahimi live from Baghdad.

Thank you for the update and for the breaking news this morning.

With talk of possible retaliation, there is also celebration today in Iraq. In fact, there were many celebrations in Baghdad sparked by the deaths of Uday and Qusay. And they celebrated in Iraqi style. Gunfire and tracer fire lit the night sky for more than an hour.

In China, British Prime Minister Tony Blair heard the news and saw the celebrations on TV. He says they're proof of the evil regime of Saddam and his sons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This is a great day for a new Iraq. These two particular people were at the head of a regime that wasn't just a security threat because of its weapons program, but was responsible, as we can see from the mass graves, for the torture and killing of thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqis. And the celebrations that are taking place are an indication of just how evil they were.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: All right, we want to give you more now on the nuts and bolts of this take down operation, how it all played out and the big reward offered for Saddam Hussein.

CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

07220003.v84

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: All right, we've been telling you about the attacks on U.S. troops this morning. Now we want to take you to Mosul to talk about one of the attacks on troops this morning. One U.S. soldier has been killed. And, of course, Mosul is the town where Uday and Qusay were killed, as well. Is it just a coincidence?

Well, let's go live to Mosul and Harris Whitbeck -- what are you hearing, Harris?

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, we do have some new information to report to you. It is from a high ranking U.S. military source here on the ground. He gave us a little bit more detail on how the U.S. military got the information that led to the firefight which resulted in the deaths of Uday and Qusay yesterday.

He said it was one source who gave them information that these people might be in this house. The military had about a 24 hour window there to start launching the operation. When they came in to launch the operation, they first used a megaphone to ask the occupants of the house to come out. When that didn't happen, the occupants of the house started firing and that's when this big firefight ensued.

He did say that the source of this information is currently in protective custody. He is with the U.S. military in protective custody and he did say that this one source would get the two $50 million rewards that had been offered for both of these individuals, numbers two and three on the most wanted list that had been posted by the U.S. here in Iraq.

Our source also told us that there would be more information coming in later this afternoon and, as you know, the U.S. military is still considering whether to release the pictures of the dead brothers to help convince the Iraqi people that this, in fact, did happen.

Outside of the house this morning, there have been small groups of people, residents of Mosul, gathering. At times they chant pro- Saddam Hussein slogans and express pretty much a sense of mistrust of the United States and what it's doing here. When asked what they feel about the incidents that occurred here last night, they seem to refer to what has happened to their entire country. And they go back to the fact that they still have very little access to basic services in many parts of the country, no electricity. That seems to be on their minds more than the fact that two of the most notorious members of the Saddam regime and its inner circle were killed last night -- Carol.

COSTELLO: There's a call to prayer behind you. That's the chanting that you're hearing behind Harris, just so you know.

Harris, I wanted to ask you about the attack in Mosul, the latest attack this morning on U.S. troops. Do you know anything more about that attack?

WHITBECK: The information at this time is very sketchy. We know that it occurred as a military convoy was driving on a road. And explosive device went off. Still no information on what kind of explosive device went off, but we do know that there was one U.S. soldier killed and there were several that were injured.

There was also an attack closer to Baghdad. There was also an ambush type operation on a convoy. And a U.S. soldier was also killed in that incident -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Harris Whitbeck live from Mosul this morning.

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