Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Iraqi TV shows Saddam meeting son, officials

Iraqi television showed footage of President Saddam Hussein yesterday meeting with top aides after the United States said it stormed into the heart of the capital Baghdad and grabbed two of Saddam’s palace compounds.

The president, wearing military fatigues, was shown sitting in a room with windows and with wall maps behind him.

Also seen present at the meeting were his younger son and heir apparent, Qusay, Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz as well as other senior military officials.

It was not clear when the meeting took place. Elder son, Uday was not shown in the film.

There has been no word on Saddam’s whereabouts and there has been speculation among U.S. officials that he may have been incapacitated in attacks on Baghdad.

He was unlikely to be anywhere near his official palaces, which have been hit repeatedly since the start of the US-led war to oust him.

Taped appearances by President Saddam have become more frequent in recent days as US forces focus their military invasion on Baghdad.

The Iraqi authorities have been at pains to insist that President Saddam is still in charge and controlling his forces.

On Saturday, the television showed footage of the president in a meeting with his two sons, top aides and military commanders in a windowless room at a large table.