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Attacks draw mixed response in Mideast

LONDON, England -- Leaders of Middle Eastern nations, including U.S. foes Libya and Iran, have condemned the terror attacks on the U.S. -- with one notable exception.

Saddam Hussein's Iraq said the United States deserved Tuesday's attacks in New York and Washington as the fruits "of its crimes against humanity."

Under the headline "America burns," the official newspaper Al-Iraq said that "what happened in the United States yesterday is a lesson for all tyrants, oppressors and criminals."

Overnight an official Iraqi statement said: "The American cowboys are reaping the fruit of their crimes against humanity."

Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi: ''We feel your pain, we feel your sorrow, we will do everything we can to help''
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But other countries usually considered anti-American condemned the terrorists -- including traditionally anti-American ruler Moammar Gadhafi, Afghanistan's Taliban and Iran.

Gadhafi called the attacks "horrifying" and urged international Muslim aid groups to join other international aid agencies in offering assistance to the United States "regardless of political considerations or differences between America and the peoples of the world."

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said: "The fight against terrorism is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness."

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told CNN that "it's time for action and not just tough talk" to fight terror. He said that whoever supported or hosted terrorist groups should be "automatically isolated from the family of nations.''

"I believe the American president should and will lead whole world, the UK, Europeans, Russia, Israel, the whole world should focus effort putting an end to it," he said.

Israel -- itself the regular target of terror attacks since its founding in 1948 -- declared Wednesday a day of mourning, showing its solidarity with and support of the United States.

Dan Meridor, an Israeli Cabinet minister, said there are countries that have traditionally supported terror operations.

"Those countries should stop or become ostracized, become outcasts in the world," he said. "We saw the dreadful results yesterday in New York and Washington. Now everybody should say where they stand -- are they with those who fight terror, or are they with terror?"

As Palestinians celebrated in one West Bank town and in Lebanese refugee camps on Tuesday, their leader Yasser Arafat offered his sympathy to Americans and said the Palestinian authority was "completely shocked" by the string of attacks.

Arafat said: "We are completely shocked. It's unbelievable. We completely condemn this very dangerous attack, and I convey my condolences to the American people, to the American president and to the American administration, not only in my name but on behalf of the Palestinian people."

Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian Authority Cabinet member, said the apparent celebrations in Ramallah in the West Bank were a minority reaction and focusing on them would be misleading, as far as Arab reaction to the attacks is concerned.

The attacks, she said, were "unconscionable" and "a blow to humanity as a whole," she said, expressing her grief on behalf of the Palestinian and Arab people. "We, as victims ourselves, we feel nothing but sympathy."

Mohammad Khatami, the Iranian president, said he felt "deep regret and sympathy with the victims."

King Abdullah of Jordan, who spoke to CNN from the Royal Palace in Amman, agreed that the celebrations in the West Bank were isolated events and said "we were just as shocked as you are."

"It's a small group of people; it's no way a reflection of the Palestinian people or other peoples of the Middle East," said Abdullah, who added that Jordan shares the sorrow and grief suffered by Americans.

U.S. blamed

Sheikh Yassin, leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, said "no doubt this is a result of injustice the U.S practices against the weak in the world."

From Gaza, Islamic Jihad official Nafez Azzam said "what happened in the United States today is a consequence of American policies in this region."

In the West Bank, Qais abu Leila, leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, denied any connection to the incident and said it has always opposed "terror attacks on civilian targets, especially outside the occupied territories."

In Islamabad, Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, said: "We want to tell the American children that Afghanistan feels your pain and we hope that the courts find justice."

In Kabul, Afghanistan, Wakeel Ahmed Mutawakel, the foreign minister of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban government, told the Arab television network Al Jazeera, "We denounce this terrorist attack, whoever is behind it."

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