- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2003

U.S. intelligence analysts are still divided over whether Saddam Hussein is dead or alive two days after a bomb and missile attack on an Iraqi leadership bunker.
"We don't know," says one U.S. official. "We just don't know."
The bombing of a residence Wednesday in the opening shot of the U.S.-led war against Iraq involved 40 cruise missiles and guided bombs.
"There's no question but that the strike on that leadership headquarters was successful," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday.
"We have photographs of what took place. The question is, what was in there? And until we gather sufficient information and intelligence, and have more than one source that gives us conviction, we have to assume that the operation is proceeding."
Mr. Rumsfeld declined to comment on reports that Saddam Hussein was seen being removed from the bombed leadership site on a stretcher.
A U.S. official said medical personnel were called into the bunker after the attack. "But it isn't clear who was wounded or killed," he said. "There are all types of rumors and reports. There are some people that think he may have been killed and some who think he's alive."
There's just not enough information to draw a conclusion.
Finding out what happened to Saddam will be difficult because he will be on the move and hiding if he is alive and ambulatory. U.S. intelligence agencies will continue monitoring Iraqi communications to try to learn more details.
In Baghdad, Iraq's Information Minister insisted that Saddam is alive. "They targeted the houses of Saddam Hussein and his family, but they are safe," Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf told reporters.
A U.S. official dismissed the minister's statement as having little credibility because it was what he could be expected to say.
U.S. intelligence agencies had "very good intelligence" that Saddam was in the building that was bombed Wednesday and that he was with members of his family and other senior Iraqi leaders, including his sons.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said the bombing raid aimed at the leadership facility was "very well-coordinated between all elements of this government and all elements of our U.S. armed forces on very short notice." The house, in southeast Baghdad, was where the U.S. thought the leadership had congregated.
Yesterday, Iraqi television broadcast video of Saddam, his son Qusai and Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad. Saddam was shown on state television shortly after the U.S. raid on the house. He was wearing glasses and reading from a notebook.
U.S. officials said the first videotape of Saddam was in fact the Iraqi leader, although when the tape was produced could not be determined. Some analysts say the tape was produced before the bombs fell.

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