Olmert hints at bombing Syria 'true'

Olmert's statement was the only reference to an alleged IAF foray into Syrian airspace, which the Syrian military accused Israel of conducting overnight Wednesday.

Olmert hints at bombing Syria 'true'

"I appreciate the IDF's soldiers and commanders, for their unusual bravery and incessant work. The nature of this work is such that its details cannot always be disclosed to the public," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the beginning of Sunday's cabinet meeting.

"The IDF has carried out numerous operations against leaders in the Gaza Strip. Whoever sponsors they will be harmed; we will reach them anywhere," Olmert added.

Olmert's statement was the only reference to an alleged IAF foray into Syrian airspace, which the Syrian military accused Israel of conducting overnight Wednesday.

Reporters eager to quote an unambiguous Israeli statement were disappointed, as journalists were banned from covering the cabinet meeting.

The official government stance since Thursday at noon, when news of the alleged operation first surfaced, has been to maintain absolute media silence. The IDF also refuses to officially confirm or deny whether flights into Syrian airspace for reconnaissance or other reasons had taken place.

On Saturday evening, it was reported that Olmert instructed government ministers to continue maintaining complete silence regarding the issue.

Olmert's request followed a statement made Friday by Science, Culture and Sports Minister Ghaleb Majadle, who said that IAF planes enter Syrian airspace on a daily basis, and that the latest alleged incident would probably not start a war.

Speaking to the Nazareth-based A-Sinara newspaper, Majadle said that while he had no specific information about the latest alleged operation, it was likely that "the planes either entered Syrian airspace to take photographs or in error."

Afterwards, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzahi Hanegbi called Majadle's comments "irresponsible."

In related news, the Lebanese An-Nahar newspaper reported Sunday that there were rumors in Syria of partial recruitment of reserves. While the report's veracity could not be confirmed, the paper emphasized that it was unclear whether the recruitment was in any way related to the alleged IAF flyover.

Pensioners Minister Rafi Eitan said early Sunday morning, before the cabinet meeting, that Israel should not "get excited" over comments made by Syrian Vice President Farouk a-Shara that Syria was examining a series of potential responses to the alleged incident. Shara made his comments during an interview with Italian paper La Republica, Saturday.


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Last Mod: 10 Eylül 2007, 12:28
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