Muallem at UN. No security breach
Photo: AP

Syrian FM: Israel has most to gain from terror attack

Walid Muallem says car bomb which killed 17 people does not indicate a security breach and could have happened anywhere. 'Unfortunately, in the years following the American war on terror, terror has spread even further,' he adds

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Saturday in response to the fatal attack in Damascus that "Israel is one of those who have the most to gain from this criminal act," Kuwaiti news agency Kuna reported.


Seventeen people were killed and dozens were injured in the Syrian capital Saturday morning when a booby-trapped car exploded on the road leading to the country's international airport.


"Unfortunately, in the years following the American war on terror, terror has spread even further. Such incidents can take place anywhere and do not indicate that there was a security breach.


"I can promise you that Syria's security forces will continue to stand guard for the citizens and the state," said Muallem, who is currently in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.


Earlier Saturday, the Syrian foreign minister held a short meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and one of the issues discussed by the two were the Turkey-mediated negotiations between Israel and Syria.


Damage caused by blast (Photo: AFP)


The terror attack in Syria was condemned by the US, Europe and the Arab world. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora issued a statement of condemnation, saying that "the blast which hit one of Damascus' neighborhoods and caused the death and injury of innocent civilians is a disgraced terror crime which we reject.


"It must not be accepted under any circumstances, particularly when it takes place in an Arab capital."


Eyewitnesses 'thought it was an earthquake' (Photo: Reuters)


Meanwhile, one of the Syrian opposition websites has raised the possibility that the blast was a "work accident" of one of the country's security organizations, after the Syrian interior minister refrained from pointing to any possible elements responsible for the attack.


Talking to Ynet, Syrian opposition sources estimated that the incident was a staged accident aimed at helping the Syrians deploy in northern Lebanon.


Other Arab commentators claim that the terror attack may have something to do with the growing tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in the region and the Sunnis' fear that Shiite Iran, which supports Hizbullah (a Shiite organization), is attempting to deepen its influence in the region.


According to additional estimates, al-Qaeda and its affiliated organizations were behind the attack.


News agencies contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 09.28.08, 07:40
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