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Israel behind Syria blast: Arab press

September 29, 2008

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AMMAN, Sept 28: Israel’s Mossad spy agency was behind a deadly car bomb attack in Damascus on Saturday which killed 17 people, according to a columnist in the Jordanian semi-official daily Al-Dustur.

“It’s a US-backed Israeli conspiracy to destabilise the Syrian regime and create enough chaos to produce an opposition that would develop and grow under the sponsorship of Israel and the United States,” Hashem al-Khaledi wrote in an editorial on Sunday.

“They seek to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, who is seen by the United States and Israel as an obstacle facing their schemes in the region.” Without making specific allegations, Syrian official daily Ath Thawra said on Sunday that recent acts of “terrorism” in the country had been planned abroad, and that their perpetrators crossed the border to carry them out.

“Syrian security is solid but the region is throbbing with terrorists,” it said. “We need to protect our frontiers to prevent infiltration by terrorists, explosions and acts of sabotage.” Al-Watan daily, which is close to the Damascus government, said: “The list is long of those who refuse to let Syria live in security and peace. It begins with Israel, passes via the information and militias deployed in (neighbouring) countries and ends with Islamist groups which interpret religion badly.”

In Israel itself, the mass-selling daily Yediot Aharonot said the bomb breached Syria’s reputation for stability and that President Assad is seen as incapable of controlling his own country.

“It turns out that Syria, which is considered to be one of the most stable countries in the Middle East is completely breached.

“And so Assad chalks up more and more negative points in Arab and international public opinion and is perceived as a leader who is incapable of controlling the turn of events within his own country,” it said.

“The regime that raised the snakes of terrorism is now finding itself threatened with those snakes’ poison,” Israel Hayom daily commented. “The peace has been disturbed repeatedly in Syria of late. Just this past February Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s number two man, was assassinated in an explosion in the heart of Damascus, while yesterday a car bomb exploded not far from there.”—AFP