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U.S. like Al Capone, Iraq says

Iraqi Interior Minister Mahmud Dhiyab al Ahmad waves a rifle during a news conference Friday.
Iraqi Interior Minister Mahmud Dhiyab al Ahmad waves a rifle during a news conference Friday.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S.-led coalition is behaving like Al Capone, aiming at civilian targets and the houses of Saddam Hussein and his family, an Iraqi government spokesman has said.

The Iraqi president and his family are safe, Information Minister Mohammed Sahef said Friday.

Sahef apparently was referring to what the Pentagon called a "decapitation" strike on Baghdad on Thursday morning, which targeted the Iraqi leader in the first blow in the war against Saddam's regime.

"They targeted the residence of the family of Saddam Hussein. God had protected them. They targeted the houses of his family. But they are safe. They are safe," Sahef said.

"This is a complete disgrace. They are a superpower of villains. They are a superpower of Al Capone," he said, referring to the notorious 1920s mobster.

Sahef's was the first official Iraqi response to the invasion launched Friday by U.S. and British forces.

He said the people described as surrendering Iraqi soldiers on news footage were not part of the country's armed forces. He also said that "we have destroyed two of their helicopters."

"These guys are not from the Iraqi army," Sahef said. "These are not Iraqi soldiers. They are not members of any of the Iraqi armed forces."

Pointing to mounted photos of civilian casualties, he said: "This is the way they are operating," adding that the civilians were the "real targets of the villains in Washington and London."

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