| A money changer counts Iraqi dinars in Khanaqin, 145 km northeast of Baghdad. The country’s battered currency will be replaced with new banknotes in October. (AFP)
Dubai, July 8 (Reuters): A purported audio tape from ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein broadcast today told Iraqis covert guerrilla attacks were the best way to end the US occupation of Iraq.
Qatar’s al Jazeera and Lebanon’s LBC-al-Hayat television stations aired the undated and poor quality audio recording, in which the voice urged Iraqis to also combat the US and British presence through trade boycotts and civil disorder.
“Returning to covert attacks is the appropriate means for resistance,” said the voice, which sounded like Saddam.
“Your main mission, Iraqis, is to evict the invaders from Iraqi territory,” it said. “This is your fundamental mission, you Iraqis, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Shias, Sunnis, Muslims and Christians...therefore you must work on unifying your ranks.”
The tape was the second such recording in a week purportedly made by Saddam.
On Friday, al Jazeera aired an audio tape it said was from Saddam in which he said he was alive and still living in Iraq almost three months after the US-led war on his country.
The voice on the latest tape mocked the US for believing Iraqis would greet their armies as liberators. Twenty nine US soldiers have been killed in what appears to be a concerted guerrilla campaign since Baghdad fell on April 9.
In central Iraq, two separate blasts wounded three US soldiers today in an increasingly bloody guerrilla campaign against occupation forces in the Sunni heartland.
In the first incident two US soldiers were slightly wounded when an explosion damaged their Humvee vehicle on the outskirts of Baghdad, a US military officer said. The second blast in Khan Dhari, some 30 km west of Baghdad, was set off by an anti-tank mine.
“The aggressive, invading enemy came laden with foiled hopes, believing Iraqis would receive them as liberators... but the people of Iraq did not and will not receive the invading armies as these losers had hoped for,” the voice said. It also called on Iraqis to use “all appropriate means” to fight the invaders, from a trade boycott, peaceful demonstrations, civil disorder to “firing bullets at the occupiers from the rifles and cannons of the faithful youth”.
In Washington, a US intelligence official said he did not know whether the tape was authentic or not. The CIA has said that the Friday tape was probably made by Saddam.
Turkey said today the US had been the biggest loser in a weekend incident involving the arrest of Turkish commandos in northern Iraq which has badly strained ties between the two Nato allies.
Foreign minister Abdullah Gul, speaking as Washington’s top soldier in Europe flew into Ankara to mend fences, repeated Turkey’s call for an apology for the three-day detention of the 11 special forces officers. The men were released on Sunday.
”It was the United States that lost in the Iraq incident, not Turkey,” Gul told parliament, referring to the harm done to Washington's image in this traditionally pro-U.S. Muslim nation.
In London, Prime Minister Tony Blair, battling for his political reputation, rejected claims today that he misled Britain over the case for war in Iraq despite a failure to discover any weapons of mass destruction. “I refute any suggestion that we misled parliament and the people,” a combative Blair said.