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Palestinian Groups Deny Involvement in US Terrorist Attacks

Several Palestinian groups are denying any involvement in a series of terrorist attacks against the United States Tuesday. But officials from some of those groups caution Palestinians are growing increasingly hostile toward Washington.

Mahmoud el-Zahar is one of the leaders of the Palestinian group, Hamas. He told VOA Palestinians are angry with the United States. "You know, the American people are angry with the Palestinian side, but also the Arabs and the Palestinians are so angry with the American administration; but not to reach such action against the Americans," he said. "I think nobody from Palestine is interested to make an operation [commit a terrorist act] against the Americans."

An Abu Dhabi television station claimed to have received a call from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or DFLP, claiming responsibility for the two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. But Abu Leila, a member of the political bureau of the DFLP, flatly denied his organization's involvement in the attacks. However, he says Americans should realize there is anger throughout the Middle East. "The U.S. has to realize that the policy of the administration is causing anger amongst the Palestinian and Arab peoples," he went on to say. "But, as far as I'm concerned, no Palestinian group or person should be involved in such actions because this is our struggle, which is mainly directed against the Israeli occupation and for the noble goal of the right for our people to return to their homelands."

The spokeswoman for the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hanan Ashrawi, spoke with VOA moments after the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. "I hope not and I can't believe it," he said. "I think it is not a Palestinian. I don't think it is and I don't think these actions are actions that can be condoned by anybody. This is horrible, horrific. I don't want to comment on this because I don't even want to link Palestinians to such actions."

VOA also spoke with Maher Altaher, a political official of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. That group is also denying any involvement in any of the attacks in the United States.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, sent a message to President Bush condemning terrorism under any conditions and describing the terrorist operation in the United States as "very ugly."