DUBAI - Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite television station brodacast what it said was a taped message from ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein dated June 14.
Saddam said "jihad cells made up of Iraqi male and female fighters have been formed on a large scale" throughout Iraq to fight US-led coalition forces occupying the country.
Saddam is reported to have said "jihad cells made up of Iraqi male and female fighters have been formed on a large scale" throughout Iraq to fight US-led coalition forces occupying the country. (AFP/INA/File)
The former Iraqi leader, whose whereabouts has been a mystery since the fall of Baghdad on April 9, said he and his aides were still in Iraq.
"Hence I salute them and salute you (the Iraqi people) and salute the Mujahedin (Islamic fighters) in Baghdad, in the battlefields, and I pay tribute to their steadfastness, jihad and sacrifices," he said.
On Thursday, the United States put up 25 million dollars for information leading to the arrest of Saddam.
Faced with daily attacks on US troops that it says are directed by former members of Saddam's Baath party regime, the US-led coalition has admitted that failing to account for the ousted leader is hindering reconstruction efforts.
In a message broadcast to the Iraqi people, top civil administrator Paul Bremer also offered a reward of 15 million dollars for information leading to the capture of Saddam's two fugitive sons, Uday and Qusay.
Former military intelligence chief Wafiq al-Samarrai told Al-Jazeera the voice on the audiotape was indeed that of Saddam and the expressions used were those of the deposed Iraqi leader.
He said this confirmed his theory that Saddam was alive and living in Iraq, moving around an area between Baghdad and Samarra, around 125 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital.
Copyright 2003 AFP