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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK
Mixed response from Arab world
Some Palestinians in Lebanon celebrated the attacks
By the BBC's Heba Saleh in Cairo

Leaders in the Arab world have condemned the attacks in the United States as unimaginable and horrible.

But reactions have been mixed in a region where American policy is perceived as unfairly supportive of Israel.

The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, said he was saddened by the attacks while Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said he was shocked by what he described as an unbelievable disaster.

Leaders in the region must be hoping that no Arab group will be implicated

Mr Arafat added that he would be willing to help track down the perpetrators.

The Palestinian authority is said to have ordered youths in the occupied territories not to congregate or show any signs of jubilation.

But in Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Lebanon, shots were fired in celebration and some said that as Israel's chief backer, the United States deserved this punishment.

It is a sentiment that is bound to be shared by many in the region, even those repulsed by the death of civilians.

Arab frustration

Arabs have been frustrated at America's support for Israel as it tries to put down the Palestinian uprising that has been raging for almost a year.

Cairo on Monday
Egyptians have protested about US support for Israel
The Palestinian Islamist movements, Jihad and Hamas, disassociated themselves from the attacks but said that American policy was to blame.

Now, as American suspicions turn towards Palestinian groups and the dissident Saudi Islamist, Osama Bin Laden, leaders in the region must be hoping that no Arab group will be implicated.

Arab diplomacy has recently focused on trying to get the United States to exert pressure on Israel in order to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.

An Arab link to the attacks can only harden American public opinion and make such pressure even less likely.

The BBC's Caroline Hawley
"There is a very deep sense of anger towards America here"
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
"We are completely shocked"
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