- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 20 (UPI) — Information Minister Mohammed Said Sahhaf declared Thursday that Iraq will treat U.S. and British prisoners of war as mercenaries over whom no international law applies.

Sahhaf, speaking to journalists, said the U.S.-led air attack early Thursday local time coincided with dawn prayers.

"At that time exactly, the mercenaries dropped their bombs and missiles on our country and peaceful people, challenging the international community and international laws."

The United States and Britain, Sahhaf told journalists, were the "tyrants of the century and criminals who committed the stupidity of attacking Iraq and its peaceful people."

He vowed that the U.S. and British invaders will face a ferocious war that will end with their defeat and Iraq's victory.

He also promised journalists covering the war to facilitate their mission to enable them to transmit pictures of the destruction caused by U.S. and British air strikes.

Sahhaf's comments came hours after the United States and Britain waged the first air attack against the Iraqi capital, targeting Iraqi leadership locations, according to U.S. sources.

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