Asad confronts Israel over bombing

07 October 2003
President Asad on 7 October described the Israeli government as a body that cannot survive without war. 'This government is one of war, and war is the justification for its existence,' he told London daily Al-Hayat. In his first comments since the 5 October air raid by Israel on Syria, Asad described the attack as an 'attempt by the Israeli government to extract itself from its big crisis by trying to terrorise Syria and drag it and the region into other wars'. Asad vowed that Syria would stand up to acts of aggression, and insisted that Israel's raid would strengthen the country's position in the region.

Speaking for the first time since the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took a defiant stance. 'Israel will not be deterred from protecting its citizens and will strike its enemies in every place and in every way,' he said on 7 October at a memorial service for Israeli soldiers killed during the 1973 October War (MEED 6:10:03).

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