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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 17:28 GMT
Al-Jazeera 'bombing plan' denied
Osama Bin Laden message broadcast by Al-Jazeera
Al-Jazeera was launched in 1996
Downing Street has for the first time denied claims that a memo shows Tony Blair had to talk George Bush out of bombing the TV station al-Jazeera.

Mr Blair's official spokesman said a memo about the Bush-Blair conversation does not refer to bombing al-Jazeera.

The Daily Mirror reported in November the memo showed Mr Bush had considered taking such action in 2004.

The denial came after al-Jazeera applied to see the relevant part of the memo under freedom of information laws.

'Firm denial'

Many of al-Jazeera's employees have long been privately convinced that their offices in Kabul and Baghdad were deliberately targeted by the Pentagon in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

At the time of the original Daily Mirror story a Downing Street spokesman said: "We have got nothing to say about this story. We don't comment on leaked documents."

The White House said at the time the story was "outlandish".

Launched in 1996, al-Jazeera is best known outside of the Arab world for carrying exclusive al-Qaeda messages.

The station is based in Qatar, a close ally of Washington's and the location of US military headquarters during the Iraq war.

Private

The Downing Street spokesman said that the memo "doesn't refer to bombing the al-Jazeera television station in Qatar."

Asked if it referred to another of the station's bureaux, he replied: "I'm not aware of any suggestion of bombing any al-Jazeera television station."

Asked again if it referred to bombing any al-Jazeera bureau anywhere, the spokesman replied: "The answer to that is equally no."

He added: "We are saying this because a specific allegation, despite our firm attempts at denial, has been repeated over and over and I think it's right to clarify that.

"But it's equally wrong to release details of a very private conversation the prime minister has with world leaders.

"There's a freedom of information request in. We will reply within 20 working days."


SEE ALSO:
Al-Jazeera calls for No 10 talks
26 Nov 05 |  UK Politics
Bush al-Jazeera 'plot' dismissed
22 Nov 05 |  UK Politics


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