Sudan to Host Thousands of Palestinian Refugees From Iraq

Saddam's special treatment of the Palestinian community led to attacks after U.S.-led invasion.

KHARTOUM - Sudan will host hundreds of Palestinian refugees who have been stranded for months in terrible conditions on Iraq's border with Syria and Jordan, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"It's a few hundred. The president (Omar Hassan al-Bashir) agreed to the request of both Hamas and Fatah to accommodate them and we are going to inform the Arab League and then make our preparations," said a senior Foreign Ministry official, who declined to be named.

Iraq had 30,000 registered Palestinian refugees before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The community became the target of attacks partly because of the Baghdad government's support for the Palestinians under Saddam Hussein's rule.

An estimated 15,000 Palestinians remain in Baghdad where they are vulnerable to murder, kidnapping and threats, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

Some 1,550 Palestinians have been trapped in al Waleed and al Tanf refugee camps on the Iraqi side of the Syrian border for months, UNHCR has said.

Conditions in the camps, where temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius in the Iraqi desert (122 degrees Fahrenheit), are poor.

Syria stopped taking in Palestinian refugees after accepting 250 in 2006, though Damascus allowed four seriously ill refugees to enter for treatment in August.

Sudan itself has hundreds of thousands of refugees in neighboring countries and a huge diaspora because of decades of multiple civil wars.