Palestinian leader denies US president said God told him to attack Iraq

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday denied an account by another Palestinian official of a meeting with U.S. President George W.Bush in which Bush is cited as saying he believed that God told him to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A statement in Abbas' name released by his office said that an excerpt from an interview with Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath due to be broadcast by The British Broadcasting which Shaath described a meeting with Bush in June 2003 gave a "completely false" account.

In the interview for the series "Israel and the Arabs." Shaath described the meeting, at which he said Abbas was present.

"President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did. "'And then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq." And I did," Shaath said.

"This report is not true," the Abbas statement said Friday."I have never heard President Bush talking about religion as a reason behind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush has never mentioned that in front of me on any occasion and specifically not during my visit in 2003."

Shaath could not be reached for comment Friday.

"Israel and the Arabs: Elusive Peace" will be broadcast in Britain on Oct. 10, 17 and 24, and in its entirety on the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service on Monday Oct. 10, AP reported.

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