Report: Saddam may have been inside target

WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) -- Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his two sons may have been inside a compound in southern Baghdad when U.S. bombs and cruise missiles hit it, the Washington Post reported Friday.

It is not yet clear whether the Iraq president was hurt or killed in the attack or if he escaped. A knowledgeable official told the newspaper the target, an underground bunker, was severely damaged.


In a separate newspaper report, a U.S. official told the Washington Times there were intelligence reports Saddam's older son, Uday, was killed.

A few hours after the attack, Iraqi television showed Saddam in battle fatigues vowing victory against the attackers. The United States was working to see if the man in the broadcast was in fact Saddam and if the appearance was Thursday.

Initial evidence was mixed. Although technical analysts, who used digital enhancement techniques and triangulation measurements of facial proportions, said the man in the broadcast was indeed Saddam, the Iraqi leader's former mistress said it was not. The woman, Parisoula Lampsos, has previously distinguished Saddam from his doubles in more than a dozen cases.

"The preponderance of the evidence is he was there when the building blew up," one senior U.S. official with access to sensitive intelligence told the Post. The official said Saddam's two sons, Qusay and Uday, may also have been at the scene.


Last Monday, President Bush gave Saddam and his two sons 48 hours to leave Iraq or face war. Iraq rejected the ultimatum. The military action began Thursday a few hours after the deadline had passed.

"He (Saddam) didn't get out" beforehand, another senior official told the newspaper.

The Post quoted a third administration official saying, "There is evidence that he (Saddam) was at least injured." The official cited indications that medical attention was urgently summoned on Saddam's behalf. The fate of the Iraqi leader's sons and others at the compound was unknown, officials said.

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