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Last Updated: Friday, 27 June, 2003, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
In his own words: 'Comical Ali'
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf as he appeared during the war...
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, the Iraqi Information Minister who became the public face of Saddam Hussein's dying regime during the US-led invasion, has made a surprise comeback with an interview on Arab television.

Known for his colourful soundbites and his willingness to make statements about the military situation that flew in the face of events, "Comical Ali", as he became known, shows no signs of changing his tune.

"The information was correct, but the interpretation was not," Mr al-Sahhaf explained, when asked about his briefings which remained stubbornly optimistic as the tide of events turned against the Iraqi regime.

The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf

Mr al-Sahhaf's return has been feted by a website dedicated to his inimitable method of spin-doctoring - welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com.

"The man has returned!!!!" the website reports.

"Finally, after months of painful waiting, we have authentic new MSS quotes!"

Mr al-Sahhaf told al-Arabiya television that he hoped to write a book.

No I am not scared, and neither should you be!
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf

"It is important and useful that it is put down in writing in an objective manner, by closely examining the information, comparing it and ascertaining its veracity and by giving a correct interpretation," he said.

This will no doubt delight his army of fans, which include US President George W Bush.

Killer quotes

Among his most famous - and credibility-stretching - utterances were:

"The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad... Be assured, Baghdad is safe, protected. Iraqis are heroes."

"My feeling, as usual, is that we will slaughter them, all of these invaders - their tombs will be here in Iraq."

"Our initial assessment is that they will all die"

"No I am not scared, and neither should you be!"

"God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis."

"We are not afraid of the Americans. Allah has condemned them. They are stupid. They are stupid... and they are condemned."

"Lying is forbidden in Iraq. President Saddam Hussein will tolerate nothing but truthfulness as he is a man of great honor and integrity. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely of the truths evidenced in their eyes and hearts."

"Now even the American command is under siege. We are hitting it from the north, east, south and west. We chase them here and they chase us there. But at the end we are the people who are laying siege to them. And it is not them who are besieging us."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports from Baghdad
"He is still insisting he was telling the truth as he knew it"



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