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    Blair expresses regret for Iraq war deaths


    by ODN


    Tony Blair has expressed his regret at the loss of lives in the Iraq war at the Chilcot inquiry.

    He told the officials that he regretted "deeply and profoundly" the deaths of British troops and Iraqi civilians.

    The audience in the room jeered at his confession, with one person shouting: "It's too late!"

    Mr. Blair upset the families of the 179 UK personnel killed in Iraq - between 2003 and 2009 - during his last appearance at the inquiry by stating he had no regrets about the war.

    The former prime minister appeared emotional when telling the panel: "At the conclusion of the last hearing, you asked me whether I had any regrets.

    "I took that as a question about the decision to go to war, and I answered that I took responsibility."

    He added: "That was taken as my meaning that I had no regrets about the loss of life and that was never my meaning or my intention.

    "I wanted to make it clear that, of course, I regret deeply and profoundly the loss of life, whether from our own armed forces, those of other nations, the civilians who helped people in Iraq or the Iraqis themselves."

    This is Mr Blair's second appearance at the hearing, where he is currently facing probing questions about his decision to proceed with the Iraq war. Chairman Sir John Chilcot said Mr Blair had been recalled to "clarify" certain aspects of what happened concerning the invasion in March 2003.

    The number of anti-war protesters staging demonstrations outside the QEII Conference Centre in central London, where the inquiry is being held, was not as high as the last time he attended the hearing.