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Attack launched.

Wednesday December 16 5:59 PM ET 

Blair Says UK Launches Attack Against Iraq

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday
British and U.S. forces had launched an attack against Iraq at 2200 GMT. 

``We have exhausted all other avenues,'' Blair said in a statement,
delivered outside his Downing Street residence. 

Describing British involvement as significant, Blair accused Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein of ``constant lies, prevarication and breaching
of the agreed conditions.''

In Washington, the White House said the U.S. had launched a substantial
military strike against Iraq after deciding President Saddam Hussein would
never cooperate with U.N.  inspections of his weapons facilities. 

Blair said: ``We have no option but to act.'' He added that the strikes
were aimed at degrading Saddam's capability to build and use weapons of
mass destruction. 

Saddam is ``a threat to the security of the world,'' Blair said. 

Attacking Saddam as a serial breaker of promises, Blair said

Britain had no quarrel with the Iraqi people and was taking every care to
avoid civilian casualties. 

Military action followed outrage in the West at what U.N. weapons
inspectors said was Iraq's refusal to allow them to investigate site
suspected of harboring weapons of mass destruction. 

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