Raid on Baghdad: Court told of Bush death plot

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KUWAIT CITY - 'What was the mission that Iraqi intelligence assigned to you?' asked Kuwaiti Judge Salah al-Fahad. 'It was assassinating the former American President George Bush,' replied Wali Abdelhadi al-Ghazali.

Was he under pressure to say that? asked the judge, presiding over a special security court. 'No, never,' answered Mr Ghazali, a 36-year-old Iraqi who says he was forced to take part in the plot.

The exchange took place on Saturday and recapped earlier testimony. Mr Ghazali is one of 11 Iraqis and three Kuwaitis on trial in Kuwait City in the alleged bomb plot which prompted the US Navy's cruise missile strike on Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad.

One of Mr Ghazali's co-accused, a former Kuwaiti resident Raad al- Assadi, 33, told the court on Saturday he was ordered by Iraqi intelligence to plant bombs in Kuwait, to drive Mr Ghazali over the border into the emirate and to show him the location of Kuwait University - which Mr Ghazali has said was meant to be where Mr Bush would be killed. Mr Assadi denies prior knowledge of a specific plan to kill Bush.

Adel Ismail Eisa al-Otaibi, 44, Bander Ajeel Jabir al-Shammari, 24, and Salim Nasser al-Shammari, 34 - all described by Kuwaiti witnesses as known members of Iraqi intelligence - have denied all charges.

Ten of the 14 on trial are accused of plotting to kill Mr Bush and two are accused of being accomplices - both crimes punishable by death. Two are accused of providing shelter to some of the 12 without knowing their intentions. The trial resumes today.

US officials in Washington say a Toyota van smuggled across the Iraq- Kuwait border two days before Mr Bush arrived in Kuwait was packed with 80kg (176lb) of explosives giving it 'the power to kill people within a radius of 400 yards.'