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Syria Seeks UN Session on Israeli Attack - 2003-10-05

Syria says it is complaining to the United Nations Security Council about an Israeli air raid near Damascus. The attack, which Israel says targeted a training camp for Islamic Jihad, is being condemned by some Arab and European leaders.

Syria says it plans to ask for a special Security Council session to discuss Sunday's Israeli air raid on an alleged Palestinian training camp near Damascus.

Arab television channels quoted Syrian diplomatic sources as saying Damascus could use the requested session to make an official complaint against Israel.

News reports quoted the Syrian Foreign Ministry as saying it would make an urgent complaint to the Security Council and to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan about, what it called, a grave escalation of tensions.

Israeli officials said their warplanes carried out the attack on Syrian territory after a Palestinian woman suicide bomber killed 19 people in a restaurant in the Israeli port city of Haifa.

Israel says it was targeting a camp used for training by the Palestinian group that claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb, Islamic Jihad. But the Palestinian militant group insisted it has no training camps in Syria.

The Israeli attack on Syria met with condemnation in Egypt, where that country's president, Hosni Mubarak, was meeting with visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

"We condemn what happened today concerning the aggression against a brotherly state under the pretext that some organizations exist there," said Mr. Mubarak quoted in news reports.

Chancellor Schroeder, in Cairo at the start of a Middle East tour, told a news conference that the attack was unacceptable. Regional peace efforts become more complicated when the sovereignty of a country is violated, he said, adding that this is why the action in Syria is not acceptable.

Earlier, in a speech commemorating Egypt's 1973 October war with Israel, Mr. Mubarak warned the Jewish state against what he called provocative practices that would lead to violence, destruction, and hatred between peoples.

In Jordan, Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher told journalists that the air raid was, as he put it, an aggression on an Arab brotherly country that could drag the whole region into a circle of violence.