Denying a newspaper report that quoted an unnamed senior official as saying the ousted Iraqi president was behind the attacks, Powell insisted there were no evidences to back the claim.

"I speak on the record and I don’t know what these sources or who they were saying, but when I saw the story and came in and pulled up all the intelligence I could from my people at the agency, I don’t know the basis of those stories," Powell said.

"I don’t know where he is or what he is doing, but we really don’t have the evidence to put together a claim that he is pulling all the strings among these remnants in Baghdad and other parts of the country that are causing us the difficulty," he added.

Newspaper claim

"We really don’t have the evidence to put together a claim that he is pulling all the strings among these remnants in Baghdad and other parts of the country"

Colin Powell,
US Secretary of State

A widely circulated American newspaper had reported on Friday that the US had intelligence that Saddam Hussein was indeed playing a role in at least some of the attacks.

"There are some accounts that say he is somehow instigating or fomenting some of the resistance," the newspaper reported.

Powell said it was not clear what Saddam may or may not be up to.

"I don’t know what he is doing, but I am quite sure he is spending a lot of his time and energy hiding, if not running, and running and hiding at the same time," he said.

"He knows he could not show his face because we would certainly capture him and I am not sure the Iraqi people would greet him very warmly if he showed his face right now," Powell added.