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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Iraqi Information Minister News Conference

Aired April 3, 2003 - 06:10   ET

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

MOHAMMED SAEED AL-SAHAF, IRAQI INFORMATION MINISTER (through translator): caught my attention that there was an American prisoner. She was being treated in Nasiriya. And those villains and their heroes they call themselves, they came to the hospital in Nasiriya where she has been treated and they took her -- took her. They rescued her. But they found the bodies of their dead, about 10 people being dead, their corpses of American soldiers there. They found that.
So when they were asked, they said we didn't know. They just didn't tell the truth. So I say -- I tell you -- I'm telling you, it's not only the corpses of their soldiers that they found, did not -- did not tell the families of those people who have been killed what was their fate. Those people have been killed the third day of the invasion or the fourth day, actually (ph), for doing such a foolness (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So they are hiding to the families. They are not telling the families of those soldiers who had been killed, they are not telling their families.

So how much is the -- how many -- what's the number of those people dead for invading Iraq, which they thought it was a picnic, how many -- how many? We're not going to tell them. We will not tell them. Those villains, those mercenaries under the command of their leaders, they are the criminals of war. So they should be breached (ph), they should be treated exactly what they deserved. We will not tell them what's the number of their dead until -- unless they leave our land.

So I am telling the families of those mercenaries, devilists (ph), did they -- did they tell you about the fate of their -- of your -- of your sons and your daughters? And the answer is of course no. What about the rest of other families, do you -- do you trust those villains who brought you to this -- to this burning, to this battle? I'm leaving the job -- the answer to them.

Starting of the gang in the White House and to Downing Street in London, they are not -- they are lying not only to their -- to their society but also to their soldiers. God be with the families of those soldiers what the lies they have for them next.

People in the sector of Shamara (ph), the fighters of the Baath Party, they have shot down a plane of the type Predator. And the people -- the people with their simple machines, light machines and with them the strugglers of the battle -- the Baath Party, they've also shot down a Predator.

Yesterday, the other point -- the next point I'd like to point out to you how a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and say it in Arabic. I told you more than once every time they failed in their -- in their battlefield before the front of brightness, the great heroes of Iraq, they go -- they resort to -- they become historical. And so the -- when they pounded, when they shelled Aduwania (ph), those losers, those villains, they have shelled a factory for textiles. They shelled and the workers who are working in the textile, just like the neighborhood of Nadish (ph), they shelled this and killed civilians, innocent people. And there's also a company there for rubber -- for rubber textiles -- for rubber tires. They also shelled that company.

The compound, the residential compound of the workers in Alexandiria (ph). The planes came and shot down -- actually shelled the compound. But the workers, the brave workers, they came out with their simple machines, with their -- with their rifles and they shot -- and they shot at those villains.

Our losers in casualties and the martyrs, the information -- the first information I got as the -- as follows, yes, of yesterday.

In Baghdad, 140 wounded and 5 martyrs yesterday in the evening, but you have noticed that the family was this morning -- this morning. The criminals -- those -- the criminals of war, they actually shelled with crystal -- cluster bombs in Abdora (ph). There's a street, 14 people -- 14 Arab -- Iraqi citizens have been killed and 66 citizens have been injured. And in Modhea (ph), the sector of Modhea, which is about 30 kilometers away from Baghdad, they also shelled this morning the residential quarters and people were just coming. So 5 martyrs -- 5 civilian martyrs were dead and 59 were wounded. The total only Baghdad and its districts and its surroundings this morning as of dawn 193 people have been injured, women, children and 27 martyrs. Those losers will be -- will repent -- will be sorry for their crimes of the crimes of war.

Briefly in English, I feel (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is taking place between some units of the Republican Guard and the American-British mercenaries south of Kut (INAUDIBLE). They have been defeated (INAUDIBLE). So they (INAUDIBLE).

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Mohammed Saeed Sahaf, the Information Minister. We are hearing from him the second time today. A number of things said in that statement talking about tanks being destroyed on behalf of the coalition, saying the coalition, the U.S. and the British, would be taught a lesson, in his words.

Earlier today, the Information Minister delivered a statement on Iraqi television that was attributed to Saddam Hussein, but no indication, no word, no videotape of the Iraqi leader today. This follows the pattern three days running right now, statements read by others on Iraqi television, but again, no sight of Saddam Hussein.

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