Last updated: 31 January, 2013

Arab League chief slams Israeli Syria strike

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Thursday condemned a suspected Israeli air strike inside Syria a day earlier, saying in a statement that it violated the territory of a sovereign Arab state.

“This Israeli aggression… is a clear violation of the territory of an Arab state and of its sovereignty, going against the UN charter and the rules of international law,” Arabi said.

He called on “the international community to take responsibility and put a stop to Israel’s persistent acts of aggression against Arab states.”

The world’s “silence regarding Israeli bombardments of Syrian sites in the past has encouraged it towards new hostility, exploiting the political and security decline” in the war-torn country, he added.

The Syrian army has accused Israel of launching a strike on its military research centre in Jamraya, near Damascus, on Wednesday.

Israel must take full responsibility for the fallout from the strike, and the world should recognise Syria’s “right” to defend its territory, Arabi said.

Israeli officials and the military have declined to confirm or deny any involvement in the alleged attack, and had no comment on separate reports that its warplanes had struck a weapons convoy along the Syria-Lebanon border.

The reported strike took place just days after Israel moved two batteries of its vaunted Iron Dome missile defence system to the north.

In 2007, a bombing raid on an undeclared Syrian nuclear facility at Al-Kibar was widely understood to have been an Israeli strike, but it was never acknowledged by the Jewish state.