Saddam#039;s science adviser surrenders insists Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Saddam Hussein's science adviser surrendered to U.S. military authorities Saturday, becoming the first of the 55 most wanted Iraqi figures to go into coalition custody. He insisted that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and that the war was unjustified.

Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi arranged his surrender with the help of Germany's ZDF television network, which filmed him leaving his Baghdad villa with his German wife, Helga, and presenting himself to an American warrant officer, who escorted him away.

Al-Saadi told ZDF he had spent the war in his cellar and emerged after he saw a British TV report that he was being sought. He said he had no information on what happened to Saddam and repeated his assertion, made often in news conferences before the U.S.-led invasion, that Iraq was free of weapons of mass destruction.

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U.S. Central Command in Qatar confirmed in a statement that al-Saadi surrendered to coalition forces Saturday.

The elegant, British-educated al-Saadi is believed to be the first of the 55 regime figures sought by the coalition - he was the seven of diamonds in the deck of playing cards issued by the U.S. military with the wanted officials' pictures - to enter custody.