Jan 28th
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Mimicking press reports seen elsewhere in the Arab world, an official Palestinian Authority newspaper has accused the CIA of masterminding last month's siege of a Moscow theater by Chechen terrorists. The siege resulted in the deaths of at least 118 hostages when Russian forces used a powerful new gas to immobilize the Muslim militants holding the theater.

Fuad Abu Hajleh, senior columnist for the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, wrote on October 29 that the CIA masterminded the attack in response to Russia's opposition in the United Nations Security Council to American policy concerning Iraq.

According to Palestinian Media Watch, Abu Hajleh writes, "The CIA will never acknowledge its responsibility for this operation which claimed over 170 lives, including those of the perpetrators," and implies that France, which also opposes American policy on Iraq, may be next to suffer a similar "bloody scene."

Such bizarre conspiracy theories involving the US and Israel find wide acceptance in the Arab/Muslim world, with polls showing a majority in the Middle East believe reports that the Mossad carried out the September 11 mass terror attacks in New York and Washington.

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