Hosenball was speaking following a press briefing by US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld in which he said that he was still assessing the impact of the attack. Defence Department officials say that the hit was launched against a senior command and control centre and was not an assassination attempt.

Saddam Hussein appeared on Iraqi television about three hours after the attack, which took place at about 5:30am GMT on 20 March, but some analysts say that a body double might have been used.