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Sun 30 Sep 2007 01:15 AM

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Israel strike aimed at provoking wider conflict

Attack on alleged Syrian nuclear site designed to justify further military action, official says.

Israel’s recent attack on what is being claimed to be was a Syrian nuclear facility is designed to provide justification for further military action against its neighbour, Syrian Vice President Faruq Al-Shara said on Saturday.

“Those who continue to talk about this raid and to invent inaccurate details [about it], are aiming to justify a future aggression [against Syria],” Al-Shara told a press conference, quoted newswire AFP.

“They are manipulating public opinion to convince it that [Israel] does not want war. They are lying about that.”

The vice president then condemned “Arab or international parties that write about things that did not happen and who claim North Koreans or others were killed [in the raid on September 6]”, AFP reported.

The Israeli air strike as been shrouded in mystery, with much of the international media reporting that the target was a nuclear or missile facility being run with the help of North Korea, something both Damascus and Pyongyang have denied.

The strike has also raised concerns of another Middle East conflict, with a Syrian cabinet minister warning that the country was considering that action to take in response to the Israeli “aggression”, according to the newswire.

However, Israel on Saturday ruled a further escalation of tensions with Syria, stating that there was “no danger of war” between the two countries, reported AFP.

Amos Gila, political advisor to Israel’s defence ministry, told state radio: “There is no danger of direct confrontation between Israel and Syria because the two countries are not interested.”

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