Le Pen dismisses Sept 11 as mere incident

21st February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has dismissed the September 11, 2001 attacks as an "incident", saying the death toll of 3,000 was equal to the number of people killed in Iraq in a month.

PARIS, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has dismissed the September 11, 2001 attacks as an "incident", saying the death toll of 3,000 was equal to the number of people killed in Iraq in a month.

Le Pen made the comment in an interview published Wednesday with the Catholic newspaper La Croix during which he praised Islamic leaders for condemning the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"The September 11 event, or one could say incident, prompted a certain number of people to distance themselves (from Islamic extremism) to avoid falling under the barrage of accusations that was then unleashed," said Le Pen.

Commenting on the death toll from the attacks, Le Pen said: "3,000 dead, that is how many die in Iraq in a month and it's far less than the deaths in the Marseille or Dresden bombings at the end of the Second World War."

The National Front leader said the World War II bombings were "also terrorist acts as they expressly targeted civilians to force military leaders to capitulate."

Le Pen, 78, stunned the nation when he qualified for the second round of voting against Jacques Chirac in the 2002 presidential election with nearly 17 percent of votes.

He is taking part in his fifth and undoubtedly last presidential campaign ahead of the April-May election.

The far-right leader was convicted of Holocaust denial after he declared in 1987 that the gas chambers used by Nazi Germany to exterminate Jews were a "detail in the history of World War II."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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