Palestinians contingents deployed to Iraq

Special to World
Monday, March 31, 2003

NICOSIA Hundreds of Palestinians have arrived in Iraq to fight for the regime of President Saddam Hussein.

Palestinian sources in Lebanon said members of the Fatah movement led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat have been deployed in Baghdad.

They said the Palestinians are training to serve as suicide attackers for Saddam.

"What is happening in Iraq is the battle of the Palestinian people first and the Arab and Muslim nation second," Col. Munir Maqdeh, the Fatah commander in Lebanon, told the Israeli Arab weekly A-Sinara.

Maqdeh said one Fatah contingent has already been deployed in Baghdad. Another group of Fatah insurgents is scheduled to follow shortly, he said.

On Sunday, Iraq announced that 4,000 Arab volunteers have arrived in the country to carry out suicide attacks against U.S. and allied troops. The volunteers were said to have been deployed in the Baghdad area.

Thousands of Fatah insurgents are deployed in Lebanon and receive salaries from Arafat. Palestinian sources said that in February, envoys for Saddam's son, Uday, arrived in Lebanon to recruit for Iraqi suicide squads.

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