New purported Saddam tape airs

BAGHDAD, Iraq  -- A new audiotape purportedly of Saddam Hussein emerged Friday as the U.S. military distributed retouched images of the deposed Iraqi leader to depict what he might look like after weeks on the run.

The audiotape, which Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera broadcast, is said to have been recorded in recent days by Saddam. The speaker urges the Iraqi people to be patient, promising that Saddam will return to power.

"We are confident that the occupying forces will collapse and surrender to the truth and the will of God and that of the people," the tape's speaker said.

"This will happen at any moment because of the painful blows the occupiers are receiving at the hands of the mujahedeen and due to the perseverance of our people."

CNN has not been able to confirm that the speaker is Saddam.

The U.S. military has released six digitally altered photos and artists' renderings of the former Iraqi dictator with long hair, gray hair or a mustache. One sketch depicts a haggard Saddam as he might appear nearly four months after his regime collapsed.

The images from the CIA are being handed out to troops with the Army's 4th Infantry Division and Task Force 20 -- the Special Operations unit responsible for hunting fugitive Iraqi leaders. The images are not being distributed publicly. (Full story)

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, coalition ground forces commander, said Thursday that his troops remain focused on hunting down Saddam and pointed to an increase in intelligence about former regime loyalists.

"We will find him at some point," Sanchez said, "wherever the intelligence takes us."

Conditions remain dangerous for U.S. forces in Iraq.

Two U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since late Wednesday, U.S. Central Command said.

A 1st Armored Division soldier was killed and three others wounded Thursday afternoon when their armored personnel carrier hit a landmine on a Baghdad road, Central Command said.

A 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed and two others wounded just before midnight Wednesday in a small-arms attack on a tactical operations center, the command said. The attack happened about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Ba'qubah, which is northeast of Baghdad.

Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1, 51 U.S. troops have died in hostile action in Iraq. A total of 249 U.S. troops have been killed since the Iraq war began in March. (Interactive: U.S. deaths