"It's tough work and it's hard. But nevertheless, progress is being made... and the progress that is being made will lead to the defeat of this enemy."
It started with mortars. A series of whooshes from north and south followed seconds later by explosions inside the perimeter. Figures emerged from the gloom and knelt in the middle of Hi al-Elam and Qatar Nada streets, pointing rocket launchers.
More figures materialised on rooftops overlooking the station to spray gunfire and lob grenades. Dozens of gunmen, guerrilla infantry, swarmed from houses and alleys. It was just after 5.30am and the station was surrounded.
The defenders heard engines rev and guessed what was next: suicide car bombers. Baghdad's biggest battle in months - and possibly the boldest yet by insurgents - had begun.
They struck on Monday but details of the assault on Baya'a, a vast police complex in the southern suburbs, emerged only yesterday when American and Iraqi officers opened the station to reporters. Bullet holes and debris testified to a synchronised and audacious strike by up to 100 rebels in what is supposed to be a locked-down capital.
..."It was our victory," said the Iraqi commander, Col Khaldoon. But residents, picking their way through rubble that had been homes and shops, disagreed.