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Saddam vows to fight 'anywhere'

Saddam Hussein meets with his Cabinet late last week.
Saddam Hussein meets with his Cabinet late last week.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein says his troops would fight any U.S.-led invasion with sticks and knives if necessary and would attack "wherever there was sky, land and water."

"If God wanted, by God, we will fight them with daggers, swords and sticks if the other arms were scarce," Saddam told senior military officers in an appearance broadcast on Iraqi television.

"If the enemy opens the battle on a wide scale, we will open wherever there was sky, land and water on the entire Earth," he added.

The United States and Britain say Iraq has violated U.N. resolutions requiring it give up nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, long-range missiles and efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and have threatened to disarm Iraq by force if necessary.

About 250,000 U.S., British and Australian troops are massed around Iraq in preparation for a possible war.

Saddam again denied U.S. and British allegations that his country has retained stocks of weapons of mass destruction Sunday, calling the accusation "a great lie."

"Are weapons of mass destruction a needle that can be hidden in a head cap or a headdress of an old woman at home and the inspectors can not find them?" he asked.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said Baghdad was preparing for war and government officials had ordered the distribution of up to five months' worth of food rations to its more than 4 million residents.

"In Iraq, we are ready in two fronts," Sabri said. "First, full cooperation with the inspectors, so that they can fulfill their duties according to the U.N. resolution, and this is a clear commitment.

"On the second front, we are prepared to kill the aggressors in the Iraqi desert. Those who put a foot on Iraq will not leave alive," he said.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said it was time for weapons inspectors, aid workers and journalists in Baghdad "to take a look at whether or not it is not time to leave," and suggested that Iraq might try to hold them as hostages.

"My personal advice is they ought to take a hard look at the situation they are in, and it would be probably better for them to start leaving or making plans to leave," Powell told CNN.


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