US and British pilots whose bombs killed Iraqi civilians were murderers, and actions taken by those two countries during the invasion and occupation of Iraq amounted to terrorism, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has said.
Several British and US diplomats walked out in protest of Mahathir's broadside against their countries in a speech at a national conference in Kuala Lumpur on human rights on Friday.
Mahathir, who ruled Malaysia for 22 years before retiring in 2003, also defended his human-rights record in government. He was often criticised for detaining suspects without trial under a security law and for the imprisonment of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Mahathir decried the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians as a result of the US-led military invasion and occupation. He compared American and British actions in Iraq to rocket attacks by Israel on Palestinians, and referred to those countries as "these terrorist nations".