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Accused Fort Hood shooter says he participated in war on Islam

Nidal Hasan, charged with killing 13 people and wounding 31 in a November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, is pictured in an undated
Nidal Hasan, charged with killing 13 people and wounding 31 in a November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, is pictured in an undated

(Reuters) - Accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan said on Saturday that the United States military is engaged in a war with the Muslim religion, and he apologized for having participated in what he called "illegal and immoral aggression" against Muslims.

In quotes published by Fox News from a six-page statement released to the television network, Fox said Hasan did not directly address the shooting at the Fort Hood, Texas army base in November, 2009. He is accused of opening fire on the base, killing 13 soldiers and injuring 32 people.

"My complicity was on behalf of a government that openly acknowledges that it would hate for the law of Almighty Allah to be the supreme law of the land," Fox quoted from the statement.

Hasan asked for forgiveness and prayers from "the believers and the innocents" for "participating in the illegal and immoral aggression against Muslims, their religion and their lands."

Hasan was a army psychiatrist at Fort Hood, and before that at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Maryland, and was about to be deployed to Afghanistan at the time of the shooting.

Hasan is acting as his own attorney in his court martial, scheduled to begin at the base on August 6. If convicted he could face execution or life in prison without parole.

Hasan had said at a pre-trial hearing that he opened fire at the base to protect Muslims and the Taliban in Afghanistan from U.S. aggression.

The base is a major center for soldiers deployed to Afghanistan.

Hasan was shot and paralyzed from the chest down in the attack. His trial was repeatedly delayed because of procedural issues such as whether he should be allowed to keep his beard, which Hasan said he wears for religious reasons.

Fox said it had repeatedly asked Hasan for an interview, but it was not clear why he released the statement to the network.

(Reporting by Greg McCune; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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