KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Monday that the Bali bomb blast in neighboring Indonesia was "very unfortunate" and warned that growing Muslim anger worldwide was fanning terrorism.
The level of hatred against the West was higher now than immediately after the September 11 attacks on the United States because nothing had been done to address the causes of terrorism, he said.
"Instead we see more things being done to increase the anger of people," he added, in an apparent reference to US threats to attack Iraq.
Mahathir said the Bali bomb blast which killed nearly 200 people, mostly Western tourists, was "planned just to achieve revenge, retaliation."
"I have always suspected it might happen anywhere in the world because at this moment I believe the level of hatred, the level of bitterness, frustration is greater than immediately after September 11," he told reporters.
"That is because no attempt is being made to trace the causes of the anger which makes people willing to blow themselves up in order to carry out acts of terrorism.
Mahathir has previously pointed to anger over the treatment of the Palestinians and perceived Western support for Israel as major causes of terrorism.
Malaysia's Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik expressed similar sentiments earlier in the day when asked to comment on the Bali attacks.
"I think this must send the right signals to America. You cannot keep threatening to escalate war because a lot of people are going to be very disenchanted to the point of resorting to desperate means and innocent people are going to die.
"So I hope President (George W.) Bush and the US get the right message: Don't keep on threatening war, sit down and talk it over with the right and relevant people and resolve these issues peacefully."