Saddam Hussein calls Iraqis to fight

20 March 2003
President Saddam Hussein issued a call for resistance and endurance to the Iraqi people in a televised statement broadcast just before 9 am local time (6 am GMT) following air and cruise missile attacks on Baghdad three-and-a-half hours earlier.

In the statement, President Saddam Hussein said Iraq would wear down the attackers and called on the Iraqis 'to use their swords'. The statement referred to the date and the earlier attacks apparently to demonstrate that it was not pre-recorded. 'To the great Iraqi people, the brave strugglers, to the heroic armed forces: with the prayers of dawn on March 20, 2003, the reckless criminal little Bush committed the crime that he has been threatening to commit against Iraq and humanity,' he said. His information minister, who introduced the broadcast by saying a jihad or holy war had begun, later told reporters that Saddam had survived a U.S. 'assassination' attempt.

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