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Egypt's leader says Arabs hate US more than ever

PARIS -- President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, a major Arab ally of the United States, said in published remarks yesterday that hatred of Americans in the Arab world is stronger than ever because of the war in Iraq.

Mubarak also said Arab opinion of the United States had grown more negative because of continuing US support for Israel.

"At the start, some believed that the Americans were helping them," Mubarak said in comments published yesterday by the French daily newspaper Le Monde. "There wasn't any hatred toward the Americans.

"After what has happened in Iraq, there is an unprecedented hatred and the Americans know it. There exists today a hatred never equaled in the region."

Mubarak said US missteps in Iraq had made the situation worse. "In Iraq, they said: 'We are not going to allow the creation of an Islamic state.' Result: People are attached even more to the idea of religion," he said.

Many Arabs perceive a sense of "injustice" in the way the United States has offered strong backing for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, Mubarak said.

Also yesterday, King Abdullah II of Jordan -- another Arab ally of the United States -- postponed a meeting with President Bush this week, citing questions about the US commitment to the Mideast peace process.

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