Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Sunday | October 05, 2003

Israel Attacks Inside Syria


Despite the claptrap doled out by the Bush administration about the war in Iraq creating a climate more conducive to progress on “The Roadmap,” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be getting worse. Sharon is hearing louder calls to deport or even assassinate Arafat, and now Sharon has authorized an airstrike within Syrian territory just one day short of the thirtieth anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War—the last time Israeli war planes struck ground targets inside Syria.

Israel took its battle against Palestinian militants to Syria on Sunday, striking deep inside Syrian territory for the first time in decades, after a suicide bomber killed 19 people in an Israeli restaurant…
The raid targeted "an abandoned training camp" that belonged to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Ain Saheb area, about 12.5 miles northwest of Damascus, a Palestinian source said.
Syrian officials were not immediately available for comment on the surprise Israeli move, made against the backdrop of speculation that Israel would target Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, whom it has threatened to exile…

Bashir Assad has tried to exhibit a determination to reign in his Palestinian allies of late, shutting down the offices of Hamas and Islamic Jihad once the Bush Administration started squawking about invading Syria. The U.S. in pressuring the Syrians to expel the Palestinian leaders it’s harboring in Damascus, but Assad can hardly do that without being seen as betraying the Palestinians and succumbing to Israeli pressure delivered through the U.S.

The Israeli attack was directed at Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for Saturday's bombing of a restaurant in the city of Haifa (one of the few places in Israel where Jews and Arabs are relatively integrated). Islamic Jihad denies having bases in Syria; it says all its training centers are in Palestinian-controlled areas. Some reports say the base that was bombed had been abandoned by the Marxist-leaning PFLP, but the Israelis say it was used by the PFLP, Hamas and Islamic Jihad to train bomb makers.

Syria, which is currently a member of the U.N. Security Council, will reportedly call for a special U.N. session to secure an official condemnation of Israel’s action, and “Syrian sources say that Israel is ‘playing with fire,’ and that the situation could rapidly deteriorate into regional conflict.”

Posted October 05, 2003 06:58 AM | Comments (176)


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