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Saddam denies hand in Najaf blast
September01, 2003 18:07 IST
Last Updated: September01, 2003 18:08 IST
Former Iraq president Saddam Hussein has reportedly denied involvement in the August 29 bomb attack outside the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, which killed 83 people including a prominent Shia cleric, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim.
Arabic television channel Al Jazeera broadcast a tape purported to be from Hussein telling the "great and strong people of Iraq" that the bombing was "an accident", and that "they (the Americans) rushed to accuse the so-called Saddam supporters with no evidence", said CNN.
"Maybe many of you have heard the hiss of the snakes, the servants of the occupiers, how they accused us without any evidence of killing of al-Hakim," the tape said. "Saddam Hussein is a leader not of the minority but the leader of the great people of Iraq.
"(Saddam Hussein) is the leader of all people of Iraq: Muslims, non-Muslims, Shia, Sunnis, Kurds and all other groups."