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Dissident Leader Says Saddam's Alive

Saddam on Abu Dhabi TV--2003/4/9 Image from Abu Dhabi television of man identified as Saddam Hussein waves to a crowd, Iraq, video still
Abu Dhabi TV
Saddam Hussein is alive and on the move inside Iraq, an Iraqi opposition leader said.

Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi National Congress leader now in Baghdad, told the British Broadcasting Corporation his group is tracking the deposed Iraqi leader and at least one of his sons.

"We are aware of his movements between 12 and 24 hours after he has been there," Chalabi told the BBC. "We received intelligence about his son Qusay yesterday. The night before he was seen in Aadhamiya," an area of Baghdad.

Saddam's whereabouts and condition have been in question since the war began with an airstrike on a bunked where he was thought to be sleeping. Another attempt to kill him was made on April 7.

A lack of coordinated defenses by the Iraqi seemed to suggest Saddam was dead, but videos kept appearing on state television that appeared to indicate he was alive.

The most recent came on Friday, when Abu Dhabi television aired pictures of the someone appearing to be the Iraqi leader in the streets of Baghdad, greeted by an enthusiastic crowd as he waved and was hoisted onto a car hood to greet throngs of fellow Iraqis.

Abu Dhabi television said the film was shot April 9, the day U.S forces moved into Baghdad. The footage, if authentic and if actually of Saddam, would mean that an American bombing of three houses on April 7 was unsuccessful. The United States said it was studying the footage.

April 9 was the day a crowd of Iraqis, with the help of U.S. Marines, toppled a 40-foot statue of Saddam in a main square of the capital.

Clad in a black beret and an olive military uniform, Saddam moved through the crowd as people cheered: "With our bloods and souls we redeem you, Oh Saddam."

Helped by guards, Saddam ascended the hood of a car and appeared a bit embarrassed as he took in cheers. Some of those cheering him held AK-47 assault rifles.

Alongside him stood a man who resembled his younger son, Qusay. Though there was nothing to indicate definitively when the pictures were shot, haze was visible in the background that could have been dust — but also could have been smoke from U.S. bombardments.

At U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar, a spokesman said he could not comment on whether the footage showed the real Saddam or a lookalike.

"If he is still alive, it's a matter of days," said Ensign David Luckett, the spokesman. He said experts were studying the footage.

"His days are certainly numbered. He is no longer in power and that is quite obvious in the country of Iraq as the Iraqi people celebrate their freedom," he said. "It was never about one person, it was about liberating a country," Luckett said.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the U.S. commander in Iraq, has said Saddam's DNA would be used to test any remains that are suspected to be his.

Franks said coalition forces also have DNA from other top Iraqi leaders. He did not explain how the DNA was obtained. It can be culled from a wide range of sources, including licked envelopes.