AMMAN, Jordan — Iraq announced Monday that it will use its captured American and allied airmen as human shields against the relentless air attack on Iraqi targets, prompting U.S. officials to accuse Saddam Hussein of committing war crimes.
"America is angry about this," said President Bush, who vowed that the threat will not prompt him to relax the U.S. offensive.
The International Committee of the Red Cross declared that Iraq had violated the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of prisoners of war by televising the pilots and by threatening to place them at key military and civilian targets inside Iraq. It said it will seek to visit the allied prisoners of war in Iraq to check on their condition.
The world got its first glimpses Monday of Iraqi Television videotapes showing cut, bruised and dazed allied pilots condemning the allied assault on Iraq and Kuwait.
The Baghdad announcement that captives would be moved to strategic sites as protection against allied bombing made it clear that Iraq was resurrecting its nightmarish human shield policy from the early period of the Persian Gulf crisis. There was an immediate storm of international protest.
As the Persian Gulf War entered its sixth day, there were these other developments:
* Iraq launched at least two Scud missiles toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh this morning, according to Saudi officials. Preliminary reports indicated that one was downed by a Patriot interceptor missile and fell onto a Riyadh street, and one or two others fell in the desert. There were no reports of injuries.
* Iraq said allied aircraft raided Baghdad three times and bombarded other cities, including Tikrit, President Hussein's hometown.
* The Pentagon said the number of sorties flown over Iraq and Kuwait by allied forces had climbed to 8,100.
* Allied commanders said the Iraqis have been setting up cardboard and plywood decoys of mobile Scud missile launchers, complicating the task of eliminating the Scud threat. "They do use decoys and they use them well," said Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Kelly, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In announcing that the captured pilots will be taking the places once occupied by hundreds of Western and Japanese civilian hostages at strategic sites throughout Iraq and Kuwait, the Iraqis said the move is justified because the United States and its allies were bombing civilian targets as well as military sites.
"Because the scientific and civilian centers are being targeted by the hostile air forces, it has been decided to deploy the captured enemy pilots, who number more than 20, around such centers," an Iraqi spokesman said in a Baghdad Radio dispatch.
In Washington, White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said that the Pentagon has picked "military targets," but he added, "I'm sure there's been collateral damage" to nearby sites.
The Baghdad broadcast, monitored in Amman, asserted that the decision to use the airmen as shields at "civilian, economic, educational and other targets" came after allied air strikes had targeted similar sites in Iraqi cities. It added, "such shelling resulted in the killing and injuring of Iraqis."
There has been no confirmation of civilian dead or wounded as a result of the allied bombardment of Iraq and Kuwait, but a diplomat who toured eight hospitals in Baghdad after the first three days of bombing said he encountered only military casualties. The diplomat said most of them were injured when a U.S. "smart bomb" demolished the Iraqi Defense Ministry building.
The spokesman in the Baghdad Radio broadcast did not disclose the nationalities of the captured pilots. However, on Sunday the Hussein regime put on display seven uniformed men it identified as captured allied fliers. Three of the men identified themselves as Americans.
Audiotapes of the men's voices, in which some of them made anti-war statements, were broadcast Sunday, and on Monday the video images of the prisoners were broadcast worldwide. Among those seen were Marine Lt. Col. Clifford M. Acree of Oceanside, Marine Chief Warrant Officer Guy L. Hunter Jr. of Camp Pendleton, Navy Lt. Jeffrey Norton Zaun of Cherry Hill, N.J., and British Flight Lt. John Peters.
One of the videotapes showed a cut and battered Zaun, 28, mouthing the words: "I think our leaders and our people have wrongly attacked the peaceful people of Iraq." He spoke in the same stilted tone of the other prisoners who were pictured, and his face bore signs of what analysts said was an interrogation beating.
Speaking from his home in New Jersey, Zaun's father, Calvin, said he was certain the Iraqis were "putting words in his mouth."
President Bush, returning to the White House after spending the weekend at Camp David, Md., viewed the videotapes of the captured airmen and said that if Hussein "thought this brutal treatment of pilots is a way to muster world support, he is dead wrong."
Will the Iraqi strongman be held accountable? Bush was asked.
"You can count on it."