Iraq confirms presidential residence hit, denies troops surrendering

21 March 2003
Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf told a news conference on 21 March that one of Saddam Hussein's residences had been destroyed in overnight air raids. 'They rocketed the residence of his household,' he said. 'But thank god they are all safe.' Al-Sahhaf also issued a statement of defiance towards the US. Speaking of 'criminal Bush and his gang,' he warned: 'We will not allow them to get out of this quagmire which we trapped them in. They will see their end there.'

Al-Sahhaf also disputed reports that hundreds of Iraqi troops had surrendered as coalition forces advanced into southern Iraq. 'Those are not Iraqi soldiers at all. Where did they bring them from?'

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