'Saddam's Letter' Published on Arabic Newspaper

A London-based Arabic newspaper published on Wednesday what it believes to be a handwritten letter from ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein calling for Iraqi people's uprising against US occupation.

The letter, sent by fax to the Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily newspaper, was dated on April 28, the day of Saddam's 66th birthday.

It urged the Iraqi people to rise up against the United States, a country which was described as an "infidel, criminal, murderous and cowardly occupier."

The paper's editor, Abdul Bari Atwan, said he believed the message was genuine.

"We can't verify it because we don't know where he is, he is on the run. I have seen his signature before and it looks like it. I think it is authentic," he said.

The letter told the Iraqi people that the only issue currently facing them is that of occupation, and that they should "not trust those who talk about the Sunnis and the Shias."

There are "no priorities other than the expulsion of the infidel, criminal, murderous and cowardly occupier," it said.

The US and British coalition victory had only been possible because of "treachery," the letter said.

It said the countries around Iraq opposed resistance to the US-led invasion, and warned "those who have stood against Iraq and plotted against it will not enjoy peace at the hands of the United States."

Saddam said in the letter that he abandoned his palaces a long time ago to live in a small house.

The newspaper published a letter on Tuesday from a previously unknown group calling itself Iraqi Resistance and Liberation, which said Saddam was still alive and would deliver a message to his country within three days.

The newspaper has in the past received letters and e-mails from Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who Washington said was behind the "September 11" terrorist attacks.

Saddam was last possibly heard on April 18, when Abu Dhabi television broadcast footage and a speech by a man it claimed was the former Iraqi leader.



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