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Saddam offers 'humanitarian' aid to U.S.

Saddam Hussein said Iraq may gave aid
Saddam Hussein said Iraq may gave aid "if the Americans asked"  

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq would be willing to aid the United States in the wake of last week's attacks on New York and Washington, according to the official Iraqi News Agency.

"I say, if the Americans asked the Iraqis for their experience, perhaps the Iraqis would agree," INA quoted Saddam on Thursday.

Saddam said the offer was "for humanitarian reasons and not for the American government."

His statement added: "Yes, the hand of God is on the arrogant and the oppressor, but that does not change our concern for people."

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He said the U.S. should have extended help to Iraq after the U.S.-led air and missile campaign during the Gulf war.

Iraq is one of the few countries that has not extended an official message of sympathy and condolences to the U.S. after the September 11 attacks.

Iraqi officials say that after 10 years of U.S.-backed economic sanctions and in the light of ongoing conflicts in the southern and northern no-fly zones, Iraq is hardly prepared to express sympathy for what it considers to be its enemy.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz sent a letter to a U.S. group opposed to sanctions against Iraq, expressing "warm sympathies" over the terrorist attacks, INA reported earlier this week.

British and U.S. warplanes bombed anti-aircraft artillery in Iraq's southern no-fly zone Thursday "in response to recent Iraqi hostile threats against coalition aircraft conducting routine" patrols of southern Iraq, the Pentagon announced.

The U.S. and Britain set up the "no-fly" zones after the Gulf war to protect anti-government forces in the north and the south.

Iraq considers the "no-fly" zones illegal and has vowed to shoot down any coalition planes.

• U.S. casts a wary eye toward Iraq
September 19, 2001
• Saddam: Learn from our pain
September 16, 2001
• U.S. spy drone missing over Iraq
September 11, 2001

• Iraqi Government/Presidency

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