In the statement, “Some of the terrorists training at the camp are operatives who come to receive advanced training and then return to the Palestinian Authority territory in order to establish an operational terrorist infrastructure.”
Israeli aircraft bombed the purported terrorist camp, located 10 miles north of Damascus, early Sunday morning. The Israeli government said the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, the same group that claimed responsibility for the Haifa bombing, used the camp.
“There is a wide variety of training in the camp, including sabotage, artillery training, guerrilla warfare and even aeronautical training,” the Israeli military said in a statement. “Some of the terrorists training at the camp are operatives who come to receive advanced training and then return to the Palestinian Authority territory in order to establish an operational terrorist infrastructure.”
Islamic Jihad said a 23-year-old Palestinian woman whose brother had reportedly been killed by the Israeli military carried out Saturday’s attack. Hanadi Tayseer Jaradat detonated her bomb inside a seafood restaurant crowded with Israelis who were celebrating in preparation for Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday.
The Israeli raid in response was the first attack on a Syrian target since 1977, the Washington Post reported. It also occurred one day before the 30th anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War, in which Syria and Egypt launched a military invasion on the holiday.
Syria called an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Sunday and urged the council to condemn the Israeli action. In a draft resolution, Syria reportedly accused Israel of striking a civilian target in violation of international law and the U.N. charter.
“This terrorist act is another evidence that the massacres perpetrated by Israel on the pretext of combating the so-called terrorism are no more than a big lie … to justify its expansionist and settlement policy,” said Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad, according to Syria’s official news agency.
Most of the diplomats representing the 15 nations that make up the council condemned both the suicide bombing and the Israeli strike, according to news reports.
U.S. diplomats, however, would not support a condemnation of Israel and Ambassador John Negroponte warned Syria to stop aiding terrorists.
“The United States believes that Syria is on the wrong side of the war on terrorism,” Negroponte said. “We believe it is in Syria’s interest, and in the broader interest of Middle East peace, for Syria to stop harboring and supporting the groups that perpetrate acts such as the one that occurred yesterday.”
In the region, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat condemned the suicide bombing and installed an emergency cabinet headed by the newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.
Israel has said Arafat is responsible for the latest round of suicide attacks because he refuses to dismantle Palestinian militant groups that have targeted Israeli civilians.
Last month, the Israeli Cabinet voted to expel Arafat from territory it controls, but Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has not yet ordered Arafat’s removal. The United States is opposed to Arafat’s expulsion.