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Arab Leaders Express Anger, Regret After US Attack on Iraq

The leaders of many countries in the Arab world expressed regret and anger over the U.S. air strikes in Baghdad. Thousands of people took to the streets of the Egyptian capital in protest the attacks.

Chanting that they would sacrifice themselves for Saddam Hussein and Baghdad, antiwar demonstrators in Cairo protested the U.S. attacks. Some of them tried to march on the U.S. embassy in Cairo but they were pushed back by police.

The Arab League held an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss the strikes. A spokesman for the group, Hisham Youseff, told VOA that they set a dangerous precedent.

"It's a sad day for international relations. It's a sad day for international law," he said. "It's a sad day for international legitimacy, the U.N. and it's very breathtaking and very disappointing."

In Iran, officials condemned the air strikes as unjustified and illegitimate.

Syria's president, Bashar al-Asad, called President Bush a war criminal and condemned Arab states who allied themselves with Washington.

The Algerian government expressed what it called "profound worry" and "regret" over the start of conflict and tightened security around U.S. and British embassies.

The U.S. and British embassies in the region closed their doors to the public or scaled back services and issued warnings to their citizens to keep a low profile.

Kuwait is the only nation in the region that voiced support for the air strikes in Baghdad. It was hit by missiles from Iraq but no injuries were reported.