Israel attacks Syria in response to suicide bombing

06 October 2003
Israeli aircraft attacked an alleged militant training camp in Syria on 5 October in response to a suicide bombing in Haifa that killed 19 and injured more than 50 the day before. The Israeli planes entered Syrian airspace and bombed the Ein Saheb camp, northwest of Damascus. Syrian officials say that the raid hit a civilian area, which was used by Palestinian groups in the mid seventies, but was now deserted. Damascus described the incident as a serious escalation in violence. Other world leaders have condemned the Israeli attack. Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister Marwan Moashar said the incident 'could drag the whole region into a circle of violence'. The raid is the first Israeli attack deep inside Syria for about three decades.

The Israeli raid on Syria came hours after Hanadi Tayseer Jaradat, a member of Islamic Jihad, killed 19 Israelis at the Maxim Café in Haifa on 4 October. Jaradat, whose younger brother cousin were recently killed by Israeli forces in Jenin, is the fifth woman to carry out a suicide bombing since the latest intifada started in September 2000. The Palestinian Authority condemned the bombing, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat appointed Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) to head an emergency cabinet.

An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was convened by Syria soon after the attack, aimed at passing a draft resolution calling on the council to 'demand [that] Israel desist from any acts or threats which might lead to a dangerous deterioration that threatens regional and international peace and security'. Speaking before the meeting, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that he was 'especially concerned that this further escalation of an already tense and difficult situation has the potential to broaden the scope of current conflicts in the Middle East.'

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