Russians leave Baghdad while Saddam confident with the Iraqi army
Hundreds of Russians left Baghdad on Thursday in anticipation of war, while Iraq destroyed six more Al Samoud 2 missiles.
Three charter flights to Moscow were posted on the board at Saddam International Airport, and hundreds of Russians milled about the waiting room, witnesses said, AP reported.
An official at the Russian Embassy said "as many as 600" Russian citizens were leaving on two charter flights Thursday.
Russia's Foreign Ministry in Moscow has said the Emergency Situations Ministry would fly Russian workers and their families out of Iraq by Sunday, according to Interfax news agency.
On his part, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said on Thursday President Bush would be committing an act of "absolute stupidity" if he launched a war against Iraq.
Saddam added Iraq's army could not be dealt a knockout blow, but would strike back determinedly "even if fighting only with rifles and grenades," the Iraqi News Agency reported.
"If the American administration launched a military aggression against Iraq, it will be committing an act of absolute stupidity," the agency quoted Saddam as telling a cabinet meeting. "It would show that it lacks a wise vision."
The Iraqi leader said Iraq would defend itself whether the United States attacks on its own or secures U.N. Security Council authorization. "We will fight its forces like we fought them in 1991 whether they come alone or under an international cover," he said.
"Iraq is not an army that they can hit and finish it. It is an army and a people who are ready and have the will and the determination to fight under a national and capable leadership, even if fighting only with rifles and grenades," Saddam conveyed.
Meanwhile, U.N. weapons inspectors returned to Al-Taji military compound north of Baghdad on Thursday to supervise the destruction of the missiles. A total of six missiles were crushed Thursday. That brought the number of missiles destroyed since Saturday to 34.
Early Thursday, U.S. and British aircraft attacked a mobile surface-to-air missile system and an anti-aircraft battery 390 kilometers west of Baghdad, the U.S. Central Command said, saying the Iraqi positions threatened their aircraft. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
- ''Saddam'' tells foreigners to leave Iraq
- Iraqi ambassador under Saddam leaves Russia
- Iraq makes more concessions while CIA chief says Saddam may attack U.S. as '\'last chance'\' option
- UN inspectors set to return to Baghdad; Washington doubts Saddam's willingness to comply
- Sharon returns home with U.S. pledge to destroy Iraqi capability to launch missiles