A new audio tape claimed to be from
ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has aired on Arabic language television. The
U.S. military has launched a new round of offensives on insurgents, following
Saturday's downings of two Black Hawk helicopters that killed 17 soldiers.
The new 15-minute audio tape, alleged to have been made by Saddam Hussein, was
broadcast on Al-Arabiya television. Al-Arabiya says the audio tape was recorded
from a telephone. The television station said it does not know where the phone
(2003 file photo)
The speaker urged Iraqis to wage a holy war against coalition forces and
said the United States and its allies had misjudged the difficulty of occupying
Iraq. He also criticized Iraqis who are cooperating with the coalition, calling
the Iraqis "stray dogs."
U.S. led forces in Iraq have captured or killed many of Saddam's closest
confidants, including two of his sons, but the former Iraqi leader is believed
to be at large. There is a $25 million bounty on his head.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military began a new phase of offensive operations in
and around Baqubah, Kirkuk, Balad and Saddam's hometown of Tikrit. The military
says it has received credible information that Saddam loyalists, criminals,
and foreign fighters are operating in those areas.
For the first time since the end of major combat on May 1, the U.S. Army
fired a satellite-guided missile at a former regime training site 25 kilometers
west of Kirkuk. The site is believed to have been a base of operations for
Dubbed "Operation Ivy Cyclone 2," the mission is the latest in a series of
offensives the U.S. military has launched in recent days. The activities are
in response to stepped up attacks, which have killed more than 60 U.S. troops
in the past two weeks.
The first Ivy Clone operation began earlier this week, targeting the so-called "Sunni
Triangle" area north and west of Baghdad where support for Saddam remains strong.
On Thursday, a U.S. Apache helicopter involved in the operation killed seven
insurgents preparing to attack an American base near Tikrit. Since Saturday,
the U.S. military says American forces have killed four more insurgents and
have captured 42 others.