Witnesses saw Saddam, sons leave bunker after 1st bomb

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

LONDON The Iraqi opposition believes that Saddam Hussein and his two sons are still alive.

Opposition leaders said Saddam and his sons survived an attack on a regime bunker in Baghdad earlier this month. They said witnesses saw them leave the bunker as soon as the first U.S. bomb fell on a restaurant under which the leadership meeting was held.

Since then, the opposition said, Saddam and his sons have been moving around Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported.

Opposition sources said they are believed to have left the Iraqi capital, but one of his sons could have returned for a brief period.

"We have received information about his [Saddam] movements and the movements of his sons," Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi said.

"We cannot locate Saddam so that we have a coincidence of time and position simultaneously to locate him."

Chalabi told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the INC has been tracking Saddam. But information of his whereabouts has arrived between 12 and 24 hours after each sighting. He said Saddam is moving around Iraq.

"We are aware of his movements and we are aware of the areas that he has been to, and we learn of this within 12 to 24 hours," Chalabi said. "We will work to develop more information about his whereabouts."

Chalabi was the first to assert that Saddam and his sons survived an April 7 bombing of the Baghdad bunker. U.S. officials said it could take weeks until evidence amid the rubble from the B-1 aircraft bombing is examined.

"If he [Saddam] is alive, he is probably hurting pretty bad," U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said.

So far, two half brothers of Saddam and his son-in-law have been captured. Saddam's son-in-law was identified as Jamal Mustafa Al Tikriti.

Al Tikriti surrendered to Chalabi after Saddam's son-in-law, rated 40 on the U.S. list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis, returned from neighboring Syria.

On Tuesday, reports continued to circulate of the discovery of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya satellite network reported that Iraqi biological weapons warheads were found in the apartment of a former senior Iraqi official in Baghdad. In a neighboring apartment, an unmanned air vehicle was discovered.

South of Baghdad, coalition forces found what appeared to be chemical weapons. The United States has not confirmed these findings, but said components of CW have been captured.

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