Is Iraqi information minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahhaf dead, or are reports of his demise greatly exaggerated?
Muhammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, aka ‘Baghdad Bob’
Two Iranian newspapers indicate Saddam’s spokesman – who became internationally famous as “Baghdad Bob” and “Comical Ali” for his comedic hyperbole – has committed suicide.
According to reports in Mardomsalari and Al Wifaq, Iraqi refugees taking shelter near the Iranian town of Dehloran say al-Sahhaf hanged himself shortly before Baghdad fell to U.S. forces on April 9. No source was provided to confirm the claim.
The reports also say al-Sahhaf was ordered to stay at his post and continue to give the impression Saddam maintained control even as other leaders and military officials were exiting.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer has previously said the U.S. believes former Iraqi leaders including al-Sahhaf might be hiding in Syria, and military officials said they could not confirm the suicide claims.
Al-Sahhaf became an international star in the final days of fighting, making hard-to-believe claims about Iraqi successes and U.S. failures, including:
- “Let the American infidels bask in their illusion”;
- “We have placed them in a quagmire from which they can never emerge except dead”;
- “God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis”;
- “I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad.”