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Rula Amin: Confusion in Baghdad

CNN's Rula Amin
CNN's Rula Amin

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(CNN) -- CNN correspondent Rula Amin is in Jordan and talked with CNN anchor Bill Hemmer Saturday morning about the confusion over the presence of coalition troops in Baghdad.

HEMMER: We are checking in with our reporters throughout the region. Rula Amin is keeping a close eye on her sources, and the (Iraqi) information minister reading a statement from Saddam Hussein. Good afternoon.

AMIN: it's another message from Saddam Hussein, this time read by the information minister, [Mohamed Saeed] al-Sahaf. He urged Iraqis to help defend the capital. He told them now the U.S. forces are focused on Baghdad and that's why they are weakened in other parts of Iraq, and that's why he needs them to attack these forces in the other parts of Iraq to release the pressure. Let's listen.

(Videotape of Sahaf reading statement)

"...And God will protect Baghdad as a symbol for virtue and belief in jihad, even if it was attacked, or if it was subjected to added pressure. But to harm the enemy more and more, go against the enemy and destroy the enemy. And follow the plans that you got in writing. God is great. May the criminals lose."

AMIN: Now, the information minister had another message in the morning. He was basically saying the rocket troops have managed to put U.S. forces out of Baghdad International Airport [so-called by the coalition; called Saddam International Airport by Iraq] and they are the ones in control now. He said that they have been able to defeat the U.S. forces there, inflict serious damage, kill a number of U.S. soldiers and take another number as prisoner. He says now ... the Iraqis are going to attack more and more. It's a different, completely different version of events that we are getting from Baghdad, Bill.

HEMMER: Rula, about 24 hours ago, when you and I were talking, you had contacts inside of Baghdad. If so, have they talked about the tanks that were near the heart of Baghdad today?

AMIN: Most people in Baghdad did not see these troops. However, CNN correspondents spoke to some sources who said there were eyewitnesses who saw the troops in different locations. What explains the confusion is the Central Command said the troops went in and out. So they didn't stay there. They just came in and out.

The Iraqis are denying such movement. They say Americans did not come into the city. However ... regular Iraqis have a different theory, they show more presence of the Republican Guard, more presence for the ruling Baath Party. There is more Iraqi security on the street now almost at every corner.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN's policy is to not report information that puts operational security at risk.


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