Saddam expresses condolence over NY attacks


Saddam Hussein has expressed personal condolences over the September 11 attacks for the first time.

He was responding to an email claim to have been sent to him by a US citizen. It calls on the Iraqi leader to resolve his differences with US President George W Bush.

Saddam wrote back a 10-page letter containing a traditional Muslim message of condolence, but said he could not offer condolences to Mr Bush.

He says he is waiting for Mr Bush to offer condolences over the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis he blames on the 11-year-old UN sanctions against Iraq.

Saddam's letter, released by Iraqi officials, says: "We are belonging to God and to Him we are returning and may God protect your life as we Muslims say to anyone who loses somebody dear to him."

He adds: "I do not think your administration deserves that Iraqis condole with it on what happened, unless it condoles with the Iraqi people on the death of one and half million Iraqis who it killed."

Iraq is the only Arab country not to have sent official condolences to the US.

In the email to Saddam, a man calling himself Christopher Love, a computer engineer from Pennsylvania, says: "Mr President, please for the sake of humanity, please contact George W Bush. Tell him why you are angry. I hope for all of our sakes he will listen with compassion and understanding, as I believe he will.

"How much it would mean to this world right now if you were to put aside your differences and side with the world, not just the US."