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Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Sa'id al-Sahhaf said on 5 April 2003 that Republican Guards were in full control of Baghdad's international airport and coalition forces there had been "crushed" and repelled.
"We have crushed the whole force which dared to venture there. They were on the runway at Saddam International Airport. That force was crushed," he said in a press conference broadcast live by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV at 0930 gmt.
"Those who ran away are now outside the distant perimeter wall of the airport. Now they're outside the wall and the heroic Republican Guard is now in control of the whole area of Saddam International Airport. So where are those villainous louts, those mercenaries?" he said.
Al-Sahhaf said Iraqi forces had used missiles and artillery and that coalition forces were now under siege in a region called Abu-Ghurayb. He said the battle was proceeding in favour of the Iraqis.
"We are surprising them with operations which I described yesterday as new. Indeed, Republican Guard forces, Saddam's Fedayeen fighters and the heroic martyrdom seekers have carried out very innovative operations as I told you they would," without elaborating.
"God willing we'll slaughter them all," he said.
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