Israeli warplanes strike deep in Syria
"Israel will act with determination against all who harm its citizens,
in accordance with the right to self defense and defense of the state"
From the Jerusalem Post:
Arieh O'Sullivan Oct. 5, 2003
Israeli warplanes bombed an Iranian-backed terrorist training camp deep in Syria, the army said Sunday, in response to a suicide bombing in Haifa that killed 19, including four children.
The strike, Israel's first on Syrian soil in more than two decades, marks a considerable "notch up" in Israel's war on terrorism, which has now expanded beyond the borders of the Territories. It was approved by the highest levels following consultations through the night by the defense establishment.
The military said the air strike took place between Saturday and Sunday and was against the Ein Tzahab base used by Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists.
"Syria has been warned more than once by the United States that it should close all the facilities of the Islamic Jihad," said government spokesman Avi Pazner. "Apparently it has not done so. And it is our policy after what happened yesterday to go after Islamic Jihad wherever they are."
The Syrian government had no immediate response. Speaking on the al-Jazeera television network, Abu Emad El-Refaei, an Islamic Jihad spokesman in Beirut, Lebanon, denied that there were any Islamic Jihad bases in Syria.
"We do not have any training camps or bases in Syria or any other country," he said. "All our bases are inside the Palestinian occupied territories."
The Ein Tzahab base, a safe haven and training camp for Islamic Jihad terrorists, is said to be sponsored by Iran and Syria. The base is 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Damascus, Israel Radio reported.
"Following the attack, the army has started operating against those behind the attack, those who support (terror) and those who use the strategy of terror in order to harm citizens of Israel," the army said in a statement.
The army would not say if other forces beside the warplanes were involved in the strike on the training base.
Military sources said the base at Ein Tzahab was used to train Palestinian terrorists belonging to the Islamic Jihad and Hamas groups. Recruits there are taught how to assemble bombs, conduct guerrilla warfare, learn usage of artillery and even get aviation instruction.
Some men training at the base were slated to return to the Palestinian Authority to set up operational terrorist cells, military sources said. Others were activists from Lebanon and Syria who were to buffer the terror groups' ranks there.
Islamic Jihad, which is responsible for many attacks against Israel, enjoys support from other countries, including Iran and Syria, the statement said.
"Syria is a state that supports terror, that constantly tries to frustrate efforts to bring calm and stability to the region and gives cover in its territory and capital to the terror organizations that act against Israeli citizens," the army said. "Iran is funding and directing the organizations."
The army said Israel will not accept the rules of the game that the terrorists are trying to dictate, and "will act with determination against all who harm its citizens, in accordance with the right to self defense and defense of the state."Israel has accused Syria of harboring Islamic Jihad, Hamas and PFLP terrorist groups, a charge Syria has denied, saying it has officially closed down their offices - mainly due to US pressure.
Nevertheless, Islamic Jihad leaders like Ramadan Abdallah Shalah continue to enjoy immunity in Damascus. Security sources said Hamas leaders in Damascus are behind the funding and recruitment of Palestinians undergoing training in Hizbullah camps, where they have learned such skills as assembling suicide bomb belts, kidnapping techniques and spying.
In 2001, Israeli warplanes blasted a Syrian radar station in Lebanon, where Syria is the main power broker, killing three Syrian soldiers. That strike was the first in five years against the Syrian military and came in retaliation for an attack by Syrian-backed guerrillas in which an Israeli soldier was killed.
According to reports from Lebanon, the training camp attacked by the IAF was populated by civilians unconnected to any terror group. Reports also said one man was injured in the strike.
With The Associated Press
UPDATE: See Roger L. Simon commentary and follow his link to LGF for more.
"He who blessed our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, may He bless the soldiers of Israel who stand guard on our country and the cities of our G-d. From Lebanon until the deserts of Egypt, from the Mediterranean Sea until the Plains of Jordan - on dry land, in the air and sea. May G-d afflict the enemies that rise against them before them. The Holy One, Blessed is He, should protect and save our soldiers from any misfortune or calamity, and from any sickenss or disease. May he send blessing and success in all their handiwork, destroy their enemies below them, and crown them with the crown of redemption and the crown of victory. And the verse 'For G-d walks among you, to wage war for you with your enemies, to save you' should be fulfilled.. . . and let us say, Amen."