- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 16, 2003

SANAA, Yemen, April 16 (UPI) — A top Yemeni Baath party official said Wednesday that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his top aides were alive after escaping unharmed from a U.S. bombardment that targeted their bunker in Baghdad's al-Mansour neighborhood last week.

The semi-official al-Wahda weekly quoted Kassem Salam, the secretary general of the Arab Socialist National Baath Party in Yemen, as saying Saddam was fine and "escaped the U.S. intelligence operation that targeted his command center in al-Mansour quarter."

Salam, however, did not say if Saddam and his aides managed to leave Iraq.

The publication said Salam made the comment from an undisclosed Arab capital after leaving Baghdad in the wake of its fall last week to U.S. forces.

Also Wednesday, al-Balagh weekly quoted a Yemeni volunteer who fought against U.S. and British forces in Iraq as saying Arab volunteers were betrayed by the Iraqis and many were killed by Iraqi fire.

"Arab volunteers put up the fiercest resistance against invasion forces near Saddam's International Airport," said the volunteer who requested anonymity.

He said the elite Republican Guards only intervened at the end before they completely vanished.

"We, the Arab volunteers, felt that what happened in Iraq was the result of a big betrayal from inside," he said.

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