The Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Patrick O'Donoghue, issued the following statement this afternoon. According to the Lancet, occupation forces have already inflicted 100,000 deaths and fatalities on the people of Iraq. More than 600 people were killed earlier when the occupation forces attempted to impose their will on Fallujah. The death toll this time could be even higher as a devastating air, artillery and tank bombardment has been unleashed on the city. How many more dead will there be when the attack is over? The occupation forces must know that only half of the civilian population of some 300,000 people is believed to have fled the city. From the beginning, I have argued that this war is illegal, it is in breach of international law and without UN authorisation. In fact there are concerns and outright opposition to it here in the UK and right across the world. The dismissal by the occupation forces, of the concerns of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, is evidence of a certain imperial arrogance which one would have thought was left behind in the last century. Unfortunately it continues to blight international relations even today. I shall continue to protest and protest and protest until all occupation troops leave Iraq and the occupation is ended and the UN is given the sole responsibility of rebuilding that country. I, therefore, urge the Prime Minister to use the occasion of his visit to the United States to bring about a swift end to the war but also address the serious issue of peace in the Middle East. I join with Pope John Paul in asking for prayers for the victims on all sides of this terrible tragedy unfolding in Iraq. The consequences of this war will be a nightmare for generations to come. +Patrick O'Donoghue Bishop of Lancaster
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