BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who sends cash to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, said Monday that such attacks were a "legitimate means" against Israel.
The Iraqi leader has been making payments of up to $25,000 to families of Palestinian suicide bombers since the Israeli-Palestinian clashes began in September 2000.
During a meeting with military officers and engineers, Saddam said suicide attacks were "legitimate means used by a people whose land is being occupied," state-run media reported.
And he urged Arab governments not to yield to "U.S.-Zionist blackmail in which America and Zionism are using Hitler's deeds against the Jews in addition to the Sept. 11 attacks in order to subdue the world."
Muslims have been divided over suicide bombings, with some saying Islam forbids any suicide, others condemning the bombers for attacking civilians and others, like Saddam, supporting them without reservation.
In his comments, Saddam also urged Iran to follow Iraq in cutting off oil exports for one month to support the Palestinians.
Iraq last week announced a unilateral 30-day cut of its oil exports in order to pressure the United Sates to force Israel to end its military operation in Palestinian-held territories.
Iran expressed support earlier for using oil as weapon to support the Palestinians, but so far has made no move in that direction.