Troops in 'air, land and sea' assault

Prime Minister Tony Blair last night told the nation that British servicemen and women were "engaged from air, land and sea" in the war against Iraq.Their mission, he said, was "to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction'.

Prime Minister Tony Blair last night told the nation that British servicemen and women were "engaged from air, land and sea" in the war against Iraq.

Their mission, he said, was "to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction'.

In a recorded TV broadcast Mr Blair, who was in Brussels for an EU summit, told viewers he recognised that "this course of action has produced deep divisions of opinion in our country'.

But he said the British people would now be united in "sending our armed forces our thoughts and prayers'.


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The Prime Minister said the world now faced a new threat "of disorder and chaos born either of brutal states like Iraq, armed with weapons of mass destruction or of extreme terrorist groups'.

He went on: "Both hate our way of life, our freedom, our democracy'.

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The Prime Minister said his deeply-held fear was that "these threats come together and deliver catastrophe to our country and world'.

He said the truth now was that "all nations are targets' adding: "Britain has never been a nation to hide at the back. But even if we were, it wouldn't avail us.'

Speaking direct to the Iraqi people the Prime Minister said: "We are with you. Our enemy is not you, but your barbarous rulers.'

And he stressed: "Our commitment to the post-Saddam humanitarian effort will be total. We shall help Iraq move towards democracy and put the money from Iraqi oil in a UN trust fund so that it benefits Iraq and no-one else.'

The Prime Minister went on: "Neither should Iraq be our only concern. President Bush and I have committed ourselves to peace in the Middle East based on a secure state of Israel and a viable Palestinian state.

"We will strive to see it done but these challenges and others that confront us - poverty, the environment, the ravages of disease - require a world of order and stability.

"Dictators like Saddam, terrorist groups like al Qaida threaten the very existence of such a world.

"That is why I have asked our troops to go into action tonight. As so often before, on the courage and determination of British men and women, serving our country, the fate of many nations rests.'

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