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WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE SADDAM; EXCLUSIVE: Spy satellite pictures show tyrant's palace complete with weapon bunkers, army barracks..and kidney shaped swimming pool.

Byline: Jamie Macaskill and Steve McKenzie Exclusive

SADDAM HUSSEIN can't even take a dip without America and Britain knowing about it.

Our remarkable pictures, taken by spy satellite, show the Iraqi tyrant's tennis court, spa and huge kidney-shaped swimming pool.

But the idyllic surroundings of the Palace of the Republic, his summer residence in Baghdad, disguise a more sinister role.

The US and UN weapons inspectors believe that beneath Saddam's palaces are huge underground bunkers where he develops chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

This makes the palace a prime target if the US and Britain go to war to topple Saddam.

But it emerged yesterday he has secretly planned to send his family and more than a dozen senior henchmen to safety in Libya if war breaks out.

He has paid Colonel Gaddafi more than pounds 2billion to provide a safe haven. But the deal does not include refuge for Saddam or his eldest son, Uday, because Libya would be forced to hand them over if they took sanctuary there.

Meanwhile, his government told Iraqis they must welcome UN weapons inspectors to spare the country from harm - a move greeted with scepticism in US and UK government circles.

The advance inspection team is gathering in Cyprus and is expected in Baghdad tomorrow.

One of their first calls will be on Saddam's Palace of the Republic, which is known to be linked to two major military command headquarters by tunnels.

A few hundred yards north of Saddam's home, garages of the Special Security Organisation's transport division are visible in our pictures. The UN believes these to be a base for mobile biological warfare laboratories.

The colour images, taken from 280 miles up, are so precise they show a diving board and its shadow cast on the bottom of the 50-metres-wide pool.

Worn patches of grass on the tennis court are clearly visible.

Near Saddam's residence are 20 luxury homes for his closest henchmen. By the banks of the River Tigris, each can be seen with its own pool and gardens.

The pictures are among a series taken by the QuickBird satellite, which is so advanced it can pick up items just two feet across. The images, vetted by the US Department of Defense, were given to us by QuickBird's US-based operator, DigitalGlobe.

They focused in on the Palace of the Republic, built at a cost of millions while ordinary Iraqis starve. Just a few hundred yards from the residence, the HQ of the 5th Battalion Special Republic Guard, Saddam's most loyal bodyguard, can be seen.

These images show America has already been looking into the very heart of Saddam's regime.

Yesterday, John Pike, of international intelligence analysts GlobalSecurity, said: "Iraq is now one of the most scrutinised pieces of territory on Planet Earth.

"The luxuries on show reveal how Saddam has bought loyalty.

"If children are dying of malnutrition in Iraq, it's not because the government is poor."
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 17, 2002
Words:487
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