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Bush now says Saddam had no hand in 9/11 attack
September 18, 2003 11:37 IST
United States President George W Bush now says Saddam Hussein did not have any hand in the September 11 attacks - and that the Iraqi leader had no connections with Osama bin Laden.
"We have had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th," CNN quoted Bush as saying on Wednesday.
This contradicts the earlier US claim that Hussein was hand-in-glove with bin Laden. In fact, the president had justified the American war against Iraq saying Baghdad had unconventional weapons and strong links with bin Laden's international terror network, Al Qaeda.
The CNN report said the president's comment follows an opinion poll which says nearly 70 per cent Americans believe that Hussein's regime, which US-led forces brought down in April, was linked to the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed 3,000 people.
Interestingly, US Vice-President Dick Cheney continued to encourage the belief that Hussein helped bin Laden, saying on NBC television that Iraq was the 'geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.'After the September 11 attacks, Bush had attacked the Taliban militia of Afghanistan when it refused to hand over bin Laden.