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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Iraqi Information Minister Briefs Press

Aired April 6, 2003 - 06:36   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I understand the Iraqi information minister is speaking on Iraqi television. Can we go to him right now? We can go to him right now. Let's listen in.
MOHAMMED SAEED AL-SAHAF, IRAQI INFORMATION MINISTER: (through translator) ...of the enemy bastards. Two planes have been shot down, type Apaches. Type Apache in the village of Ebetmeen (ph) to the south of Baghdad between the Selman (ph) and the area of Ismayeh (ph). Third, three or more personnel carriers have been destroyed and five tanks were also destroyed of the American enemy on these sites of Baghdad, on the quick ways, where the U.S. forces were using the troops by the -- Saddam's Fedayeen.

Also, four -- two tanks were destroyed and three armored personnel carriers to the -- in the Dofsahut (ph) by the Kutz (ph) army. And more information I got from south of Iraq. Two tanks have been destroyed in the district of Ovporna (ph) in El Basra. You notice from the operations of destroying the enemies and giving the -- his -- I would like to explain to you what happened and what's the way now, the methods of fighting and after the airport. When I explain to you how we have destroyed the force in Iraq and pushed them outside the airport, our forces continued after they failed -- foiled to be a -- the invasion or the offensive by the Ermin (ph) when yesterday morning, it tried to infiltrate to the airport -- to the city through the airport.

He went back from all -- it retreated actually from all the sites, back, all the other areas. It went back. But our forces with their estimation left him -- left the enemy -- left them some sites. They left them directions to go to the Saddam's Airport -- they left it open for him -- for the enemy, so that when the shelling was very, very severe, on the enemy, it would go back 30 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and other areas. And when our fire would be less -- it will come back in intervals to advance, try to maneuver and to be there in some areas here and there. And they show, in fact, their forces, the troops just propaganda.

This was exactly how it was, exactly how it happened. It was destroyed, in fact, the enemy. Back -- it was bent back and it retreated. When our forces stopped, in fact shelling, it would come back again, trying to come closer. And that's because our forces left the way to the airport open. That's when the shelling was stopped. The enemy tried to be there in -- around the area of the airport, just to show and to show how pictures actually for propaganda, for forced propaganda. I'm telling you this exactly -- show exactly what happened after it was just defeated in the end. And when it was -- went back, actually and through (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And how it came just to those areas in only small intervals, come closer to the airport of the area, just be shown, to be pictures in fact, and to show daily propaganda, they thought propaganda. And that was exactly what happened yesterday.

They had pictures of those places, well, those times when he had just been near, show it to the agencies. I'm telling you these details, which is part of our forces who -- and I shouldn't say, but I'm telling you this just because let's keep the credibility of what we're saying, in fact.

So when I asked that fill that has been shown by the Americans, it was correct just to show what is the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) what do the American enemy's tactics in the airport? It was destroyed in the airport, and went back. And the shelling continued against it. When the shelling was stopped, it would come back, just a few places. And actually, the armed forces have left the way open, the world open for it in a way to war -- attrition effect.

(in English): I will brief in English also, in order to -- because the colleagues are trying to understand (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I have -- first I have mentioned the casualties we have in (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And I'd say it in English also, for our colleagues in foreign media.

Yesterday night, we have struck, we have strike the enemy with missile strikes around the area of Saddam International Airport and in Kuwait on the way to Selman (ph) Park, on Kuwait, district and the -- our units, military units from the Republican Guard still thrusting the enemy and chasing it.

In the area of Saddam International Airport, and the casualties are as the following. We have destroyed six tanks and we have rendered useless another 10 of the enemy tanks. And we have killed 50, 5-0 of soldiers. We have shut down two Apache helicopters in the village at Termin (ph), nationalization, the -- meaning at the -- I mean, village, South of Baghdad, near the cross road of Selman (ph) Park, and the Smyre (ph) District. We have destroyed three personnel armor carriers and five tanks on the outskirts of Baghdad, near the highways, approaching Baghdad.

Those five tanks had been destroyed by the Fedayeen. And also, one shuttle had been destroyed. Also, two tanks, not bulldozers. Shuttle. Shuttle. Yes, they call it -- yes, yes. Excavator, you call it excavator. And also, they call it shuttle. Also, two tanks had been destroyed and three personnel armed carriers in Jefesaha (ph) area south of Baghdad by the Al Kutz (ph) army.

Two tanks had been destroyed in Al Corna (ph) district in Basra. I explained also in Arabic some details which we have noticed closely. We have observed closely since we push them out of Saddam International Airport yesterday. The continuation of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) showed that when crushed them in the airport, and they repeated back out of the airport, we continued bombarding them, bombing them with missiles and heavy artillery. They withdraw deeper in Aburey (ph) and out of it.

When we stopped pounding them, they pushed forward some of their units in certain intervals of time, in certain periods of time to the front, to the area of Saddam International Airport only for the sake of propaganda and just hollow, empty -- it has no military significance, only to show that they are in the airport area.

So this is a situation. Whenever we attack them, they retreat to the back. And when we pound them with missiles and heavy artillery, they retreat even deeper. When we stop bombarding them, they pushed some of their units forward and our armed forces had left the direction, the corridor the direction, the way towards Saddam International Airport open to them.

Because in this way, a good aggression to the enemy can be achieved there. So whenever we -- our armed forces stop pounding them, they pushed their units forward near the area of the -- of Saddam Airport for propaganda purposes, as you have seen yesterday have been shown in Al-Jazeera and other -- had been distributed. They said by American news agency. I think it had been distributed by the Americans directly.

And I replied to that. I said this is not in the airport. Now I am explaining their tactics to you because this had been observed closely by our side. We pushed them. They ran away through the back. We pounding them. They disappeared in the back. When we stopped pounding them, they pushed some of their units towards Saddam International Airport.

We noticed that those units only for be filmed and for propaganda, or anti propaganda purposes. In order to be accurate when we report to you, therefore I am explaining to you all these details.

Yesterday, they have also committed several crimes.

(through translator) A number of Iraqi cities. And I'll give you some examples and facts, not all the examples. They pounded Baghdad in the new Baghdad -- they also shelled a residential area. They hit five citizens. One of them was martyred, was killed. And nine houses have been destroyed. They also shelled the telephone center. Also in Termin (ph), the governor of Termin (ph) turned north. They shelled the neighborhood of Aldazeea (ph) and Kirkuk, which is a residential neighborhood, where many people were in fact -- were killed.

Also, with cluster bombs they...

COSTELLO: We're going to jump out of this right now, the Iraqi information minister.

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