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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rifts Hamstring Islamic Meeting

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Efforts by attendees at a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to draw up a definition of terrorism looked headed for limbo Tuesday, as delegates prepared to send the question to a committee.

Wrangling between nations came as Washington accused three of the nations attending the conference -- Iran, Iraq and Syria -- of fomenting terror in a war against civilization.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri branded the allegations, made by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, as "lies" and part of a U.S. campaign aimed at deflecting attention from Washington's support for Israeli military action against the Palestinians.

Conference delegates remained divided about whether Palestinian suicide bombers should be denounced as terrorists a day after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed opened a special session of the gathering with a speech proposing that Muslim nations condemn any attack against civilians as terrorism.

Mahathir, a U.S. ally in the campaign to crack Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, told the OIC his proposed definition would include the Sept. 11 attackers, Israeli troops who kill Palestinians -- and the suicide bombers.

But after Mahathir's speech Monday, rifts emerged among delegates outraged by the latest Israeli military incursions into Palestinian territory and the siege of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Halfway through the second day of the three-day meeting, the divisions appeared insurmountable