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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS -
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U.S. gives Israel "go-ahead" to strike Syria

Posted in the database on Thursday, March 03rd, 2005 @ 00:20:56 MST (1174 views)
from Al Jazeera  

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Bush’s administration gave Israel the go-ahead to attack Syria in retaliation to Tel Aviv bombing that took place last weekend, killing 5 Israelis, the Hebrew daily ‘Yediot Ahronot’ reported.

Also, the U.S. didn’t ask Tel Aviv to exercise self restraint, as in past cases vis-à-vis the Palestinian commando raids, the newspaper added.

‘Yediot Ahronot’, moreover, said that the Israeli ambassador to Washington discussed with a senior U.S. official intelligence information obtained by the Israeli intelligence service claiming that Jihad Resistance Movement had masterminded the Tel Aviv blast from inside Damascus.

In his meeting with his Belgian counterpart in the occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom said he had tabled an official request to the Belgian government to include the Lebanese Hezbollah Movement in the European list of “terror groups”.

The Israeli chief diplomat claimed that Hezbollah was financially supporting the Palestinian resistance groups and planning various military attacks targeting the Israeli occupation forces.

Washington has stepped up its pressure against Damascus, calling on it to immediately pull its troops out of Lebanon and accusing it of having hands in Tel Aviv bombing.

Attending 'Supporting the Palestinian Authority' meeting in London, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed that she had "firm evidence" that Syrian-based Jihad movement was " involved in planning" the Tel Aviv attack.

"There is firm evidence that Palestinian Islamic Jihad, sitting in Damascus, not only knew about these attacks but was involved in the planning," Rice told ABC News.

"And so the Syrians have a lot to answer for," Rice said. "We don't know the degree of Syrian involvement, but certainly what is happening on the territory of Syria, in and around Damascus, is clearly threatening to the different kind of Middle East we're trying to grow.

"We will be prepared to talk with others ... with the Israelis, with the Palestinians, with others in the region about this."

Meanwhile, a Bush administration official made a similar statement in Washington, claiming that the United States had obtained "firm evidence that the bombing on the 25th of February was not only authorized by Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders in Damascus but that PIJ leaders also were actively involved in planning."

However, the official refused to state the evidence, only saying it was based on "U.S. intelligence."



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