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Last Updated: Monday, 27 October, 2003, 17:49 GMT
Bush resolute on Iraq
Scene of ICRC explosion
The latest in a string of attacks since Saddam fell from power
US President George W Bush has insisted that the coalition will not be deflected from its aims in Iraq, despite Monday's devastating bomb attacks in Baghdad.

"We will stay the course," Mr Bush said. "The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react."

Other world leaders also condemned the attacks, vowing that international efforts to rebuild Iraq would continue - though disputes remain about the best way to do so.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the bombing of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross was a "crime against humanity".

He urged the authorities in Iraq to bring those responsible to justice, describing the ICRC's neutrality and impartiality as the mainstays of its operation.

Four police stations were also targeted in the attacks, which a spokesman for UK Prime Minister Tony Blair described as "evil and wicked".

"The terrorists and criminals responsible for them are obviously the enemies of the Iraqi people, inasmuch as they are deliberately targeting those organisations who are helping to build towards a free and stable Iraq," he said.

We are very shocked by this terrorist attack because the target of the attack was the very symbol of humanitarian aid in Iraq
United Nations spokeswoman
The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, condemned what he called the heinous string of attacks in Iraq.

Targeting humanitarian workers, he said, was deeply shocking and totally unjustifiable.

"The situation is not very good but I don't think it's going to get out of control," he told journalists.

The United Nations said the attack on the Red Cross offices in Baghdad was aimed at driving foreigners out of Iraq.

"We are very shocked by this terrorist attack because the target of the attack was the very symbol of humanitarian aid in Iraq," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"It means that one of the interests of these people is to expel every foreigner without distinction of mandate."

'Restore sovereignty'

France, a leading opponent of the US-led war that ousted Saddam Hussein, condemned the attacks but said the way to combat such violence was to restore sovereignty to the country.

"In the face of such acts of violence, it is more urgent than ever to embark on a political process, based on the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty, mobilising all energy toward the country's reconstruction," Foreign Ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said.

Germany, another leading opponent of the war, took a similar line.

Government spokesman Thomas Steg said the attacks were "directed against the interests of the Iraqi people" but added: "We will have no progress in (Iraq's) internal stabilisation without a clear political perspective.

"In concrete terms, that means we need as soon as possible steps to put responsibility for the country in the hands of the Iraqi people."

A spokesman for the government of Japan, which has pledged $5bn in aid to Iraq, said the violence would hamper the reconstruction process and have "adverse effects on the public welfare of the Iraqi people".

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo said: "It is sad that the restoration of freedom to the Iraqi people continues to be hobbled by uncertainty."

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