Iran, Hamas defend wanted Sudanese president

March 6, 2009 22:28

Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah sent senior leaders Friday to be the first to offer international backing for Sudan's president after he was charged with war crimes in Darfur, a sign that the bid to prosecute Omar al-Bashir could sharply radicalize his regime. For the third straight day, supporters of al-Bashir marched in Khartoum, vowing to defend the president against what his government calls a "colonial" conspiracy to overthrow him. Hundreds of Sudanese emerged from mosques after Friday Muslim prayers, chanting "jihad," or holy war, and shouting, "With our souls and blood, we will sacrifice ourselves for you, al-Bashir." The United Nations and humanitarian workers are already reeling under Khartoum's initial retaliation for Wednesday's arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court: the expulsion of 13 of the largest aid organizations working in Darfur.

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