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Letter Attributed to Hussein Tells Foreigners to Leave

Missive's authenticity is questioned. It warns of a new stage in Iraqi resistance.

June 14, 2003|From Associated Press

CAIRO — A letter purportedly written by deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is warning foreigners to leave his nation or face death.

A copy of the three-page letter, sent to the London-based Al Quds al Arabi newspaper and made available to the Associated Press, warned that a new stage in the Iraqi resistance to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq was about to begin.

"We tell the countries of the world to remove your citizens from Iraq [as] we are in a liberation struggle. If you do not do this then you will be responsible for their lives," the letter dated June 12 said.

The newspaper has published several letters, including two last month, it says it has received from Hussein. The pan-Arab daily has taken a pro-Hussein editorial line and blamed the Iraqi people for his ouster.

But its reports have been met with skepticism, in part because the handwriting did not appear to match Hussein's.

The latest letter, which the paper intends to publish today, said the Iraqi "resistance has taken an irreversible decision to widen our operations."

"We, therefore, warn all foreigners and those who came with the cowardly occupier, no matter what their role or duty is. We tell them of the decision that they must leave Iraq before" June 17, the letter said.

It was not immediately clear why this date was mentioned.

The managing editor, Sana Aloul, said his newspaper had no reason to doubt that the letter was from Hussein. Aloul said the letter was received Friday and was the fifth sent to the paper.

The letter said attacks should be waged on the forces of several countries, including Poland and Denmark.

Poland has committed to sending troops for a 7,000-strong multilateral force to keep order in the south-central region of Iraq. Denmark has agreed to send a much smaller contingent of officers to help in the coalition's efforts.

Since Baghdad fell to U.S.-led forces two months ago, Hussein's fate has remained unknown.

There were several U.S.-led attempts against his life, but there has been no proof of his fate.

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