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Contrasting messages from Iraq on terror attacks

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- In a letter to a U.S. anti-sanctions group, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz expressed "warm sympathies" over terrorist attacks that leveled the World Trade Center in New York and damaged the Pentagon in Washington, the official Iraqi News Agency reported Tuesday.

Aziz extended his condolences to the "victims of the incident of 11 September" in a letter addressed to Kathy Kelly, co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness.

"Through you, I extended my condolences to the families of the victims and especially the honorable American people who were in solidarity with the Iraqi people," it said.

At a Glance: Iraq  

The Aziz letter was in marked contrast to an open letter to Americans and Westerners and their governments from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein that was read Saturday on Iraqi television.

In the letter, he criticized the United States and Arab rulers who "rushed to condemn the event" of Tuesday's terror attacks on New York and Washington.

"What happened on September 11, 2001, should be compared to what their government and their armies are doing in the world," the statement read, blaming the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis due to the blockage imposed by the United States and other Western nations.

"Americans should feel the pain they have inflicted on other peoples of the world, so as when they suffer they will find the right solution and the right path."

Iraq blames the United States for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis as a result of U.N. economic sanctions imposed after the Gulf War.

-- CNN's Ben Wedeman contributed to this report

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