Letter Purportedly From Saddam Warns Foreigners to Leave Iraq

A letter purportedly written by deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (search) is warning foreigners to leave Iraq or face death.

A copy of the three-page letter, sent to the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi (search) newspaper and made available to The Associated Press, warned that a new stage in the Iraqi "resistance" to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq was about to begin.

"We tell the countries of the world to remove your citizens from Iraq (as) we are in a liberation struggle. If you do not do this then you will be responsible for their lives," the June 12 dated letter said.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi has published several letters, including two last month, it claims to have received from Saddam. The London-based daily has taken a pro-Saddam editorial line and blamed the Iraqi people for his toppling.

But its reports have been met with skepticism, in part because the handwriting did not appear to match Saddam's.

The latest letter, which the paper intends to publish Saturday, says the Iraqi "resistance has taken an irreversible decision to widen our operations."

"We, therefore, warn all foreigners and those who came with the cowardly occupier, no matter what their role or duty is. We tell them of the decision that they must leave Iraq before" June 17, the letter said.

It was not immediately clear why this date was mentioned.

The paper's managing editor, Sana Aloul, said the newspaper had no reason to doubt that it was from Saddam. Aloul said the letter was received on Friday and was the fifth sent to the paper purportedly by the ousted Iraqi president.

The letter said attacks should be waged on the forces of several countries, including Poland and Denmark.

Poland has committed to send up to 7,000-strong multilateral force to keep order in the south-central region of Iraq. Denmark has agreed to send a much smaller contingent of officers to help in the coalition's efforts.

Since U.S.-led forces took relative control of Iraq some two months ago, Saddam's fate has remained unknown. There were several U.S.-led attempts against his life, but there has been no proof of his fate.