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
"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."