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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Saddam's Daughters Flee to Jordan

Aired July 31, 2003 - 14:00   ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: It's a breaking news story we've been following, word that Saddam Hussein's eldest daughters, Rana and Raghad, are now in Jordan, and have been granted sanctuary. The source says the woman are there, along with their nine children.
CNN's Jane Arraf broke this story. She spoke close with sources. She knows now more from the phone in Amman, Jordan -- Jane.

JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, Jordan's ruling family has decided this evening to host these two daughters. AS they say, it's Rana and Raghad, as you mentioned, and they are two of Saddam Hussein's five children. Now even by Iraqi standards, these women have had pretty horrible lives. They were married to Hussein and Saddam Kamel, two brothers who defected here to Jordan in 1995. They were lured back to Baghdad by promises they would be forgiven. They went with the two women, and they were essentially executed when they arrived there.

The woman have been virtually estranged from their father ever since. But Jordanian government has just issued a statement saying that his majesty, King Abdullah, decided to give the daughter's refuge, because they needed guidance and support and they wanted to extend a helping hand.

Now, a source close to the family says as soon as they launched their request, the Jordanian royal family decided that, yes, they could come here, they were innocent victims who had nothing to do with Saddam, who had only suffered and been victims themselves to what they called his brutality -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Now, Jane, you say there hasn't been much communication between Saddam Hussein and his daughters, but the daughters are close to mom. Possibly, could there be any leads out of this that could bring authorities to Saddam Hussein?

ARRAF: Well, certainly the Americans would like to know where Sagada (ph), the wife is, and they feel that she could potentially have some information.

Now, it's believed that she sent a message, for instance, to Qusay, her youngest son, saying that she should not take his teenage son into hiding with them. What happened was these two brothers, Qusay and Uday, were shot dead in a shootout with American forces, along with their teenage son.

So we know that Sagada, Saddam's first wife, mind you, not his most event wife, but his longtime first wife, did have contact with the two eldest sons, and may, theoretically, have had some contact with Saddam himself. That would probably would have been a while back. She seems to be in hiding somewhere in Iraq, believed to be sheltered by an Iraqi tribe close to the Syrian border.

The daughters though a different story. According to the Jordanians, they are in terrible shape, they've been in terrible shape for the past few years, since their husbands were executed, and all they wanted to do was come to Jordan, and they have come with their nine children, by the way, to get a measure of peace after all of this -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: No doubt, Jane Arraf, from Amman, Jordan, broke this story. Thank you so much.

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