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REBUILDING IRAQ | LEBANON

Key politician outrages US

BEIRUT -- A top Lebanese politician enraged the American Embassy in Beirut yesterday by saying that he hoped the next attack on Paul Wolfowitz, the No. 2 official in the Defense Department, would prove fatal.

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt described the deputy defense secretary as a "virus" who needed to be destroyed, a day after the American emerged unscathed from a guerrilla rocket attack on the fortified Baghdad hotel where he was staying.

The US Embassy described Jumblatt's remarks as "outrageous."

The Druze chief and head of Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party said in a statement he hoped Wolfowitz, who he criticized as an architect of the US-led war on Iraq and a friend of Israel, would not survive any future attack.

The US Embassy in Beirut issued a statement condemning the remarks as "outrageous and completely unacceptable" and urged the Lebanese government to do the same. "Such statements not only praise acts of terrorism but serve to incite future attacks on US government officials," the embassy said.

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