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Israeli intelligence: Iraq
financed attacks

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Iraq recruited Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden and his Islamic allies to carry out the suicide attacks around the United States, according to Israeli intelligence.

Israeli officials and intelligence analysts said the suicide hijackings that downed the World Trade Center and destroyed parts of the Pentagon was too large an operation for any one group. The analysts said the operation was also too big even for a coalition of Islamic terrorists headed by Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden is accused of masterminding the bombings of the U.S. embassies in eastern African in 1998.

Intelligence sources briefed the Cabinet of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on late Tuesday, hours after the catastrophe in New York and Washington, Middle East Newsline reported. The sources were quoted as telling the Cabinet that a Middle East government was probably the sponsor of the attack.

The most likely sponsor for such an attack, the sources said, is Iraq. The Baghdad regime has long maintained an alliance with Bin Laden and Islamic groups.

"All the steps lead to him [Bin Laden]," Reuven Paz, a leading expert on Islamic terrorism, said. "Of all the countries, Iraq seems the most reasonable [candidate]."

In Baghdad, Iraqi state television appeared to welcome the bombings. The television said the spate of attacks demonstrated the vulnerability of the United States.

"The massive explosions in the centers of power in America, notably the Pentagon, is a painful slap in the face of U.S. politicians to stop their illegitimate hegemony and attempts to impose custodianship on peoples," the television said. "It was no coincidence that the World Trade Center was destroyed in suicidal operations involving two planes that have broken through all U.S. security barriers to carry the operation of the century and to express rejection of the reckless U.S. policy."

"The collapse of U.S. centers of power is a collapse of the U.S. policy, which deviates from human values and stands by world Zionism at all international forums to continue to slaughter the Palestinian Arab people and implement U.S. plans to dominate the world under the cover of what is called the new [world] order," the television added. "These are the fruits of the new U.S. order."

The Israeli Cabinet was informed that the United States might launch a massive attack on Iraq and Afghanistan over the coming days. The sources said such an attack could prompt a regional war.

On early Wednesday, Afghanistan appeared to have been a target of retaliation. Several bombings were heard in the Afghan capital of Kabul. U.S. officials denied that their country was responsible.

In the aftermath of the suicide bombings in the United States, Israel closed its air space. Israel also warned the Palestinian Authority to immediately stop all attacks against the Jewish state.

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