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Statement From Saddam Hussein Calls for Jihad

Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf delivered the proclamation in a short address at 8 p.m. local time (noon EST).

The statement accused the coalition forces of waging a war against Islam in addition to Saddam’s regime.

“The aggression that the aggressors are carrying out against the stronghold of faith is an aggression on the religion, the wealth, the honor and the soul and an aggression on the land of Islam,” Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf said.

“Therefore, jihad is a duty in confronting them… Those who are martyred will be rewarded in heaven. Seize the opportunity, my brothers,” he added.

As U.S.-led forces continued to push north towards the outskirts of the capital, the Iraqi government called on its people to attack the coalition wherever and whenever they could.

“Strike at them, fight them,” the statement said. “They are aggressors, evil, accursed by God. You shall be victorious and they shall be vanquished.

“Fight them everywhere the way you are fighting them today,” it continued. “And don’t give them a chance to catch their breath until they declare it and withdraw from the lands of the Muslims, defeated and cursed in this life and the afterlife.”

Saddam Hussein has delivered two previous statements since the war began nearly two weeks ago. In those statements, Saddam appeared on camera, but analysts in the U.S. have indicated those statements may have been taped prior to the beginning of the conflict.

Tuesday’s statement came at the end of a day of heavy bombing by American and British warplanes on targets in southern Baghdad, where Iraqi Republican Guard units have dug in to defend the city.

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