With U.S. tanks rolling into central Baghdad, Iraq's information minister denied in a rooftop news conference Monday that the Americans were in the city, declaring: "Be assured Baghdad is safe, secure and great."
"They are sick in their minds. They say they brought 65 tanks into center of city. I say to you this talk is not true. This is part of their sick mind," Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf said. "There is no presence of American infidels in the city of Baghdad at all."
Sahhaf, speaking outside the Palestine Hotel to a crowd of foreign reporters, said amid sirens and clouds of dust that Saddam Hussein's forces had given invading coalition forces "poison and bitterness."
"Their forces committed suicide by the hundreds. ... The battle is very fierce and God made us victorious. The fighting continues," he said. "Yesterday, we slaughtered them and we will continue to slaughter them."
Sahhaf said coalition forces pushed one of the armored carriers and tanks into the city and "we killed most of them and we will get of rid of them soon. Baghdad will be their graveyard."
Reacting to reports that the U.N. Security Council was to meet Monday, he called on the United Nations to denounce the war "before the United Nations becomes a place for prostitution under the feet of the Americans."