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Syrian paper: Nuke rumors may be prelude to US attack

State-run paper in Syria: More accusations could well be on their way.

September 16, 2007 13:13
1 minute read.

US intimations of Syrian nuclear cooperation with North Korea might be a prelude to an attack on Syria, a state-run newspaper said Sunday. The comment published in an editorial in one of the largest state-owned dailies, al-Thawra, came two days after a senior US nuclear official said the North Koreans were in Syria and that Damascus may have had contacts with "secret suppliers" to obtain nuclear equipment. Al-Thawra predicted Sunday there more accusations could well be on their way. "The magnitude of these false accusations might be a prelude to a new aggression against Syria," al-Thawra daily said. The newspaper called the suggestions of atomic cooperation "a flagrant lie" and said Syria has repeatedly asked the international community to disarm Israel of its nuclear weapons and called for a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction. Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, was responding Friday to questions about an Israeli airstrike in northern Syria earlier this month. Neither side has explained what exactly happened, but a US government official confirmed that Israeli warplanes were targeting weapons from Iran and destined for Hizbullah in Lebanon, while other unnamed officials quoted in the American press suggested there was a nuclear aspect to the story. Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal told the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat on Thursday that the accusations of North Korean nuclear help were a "new American spin to cover up" for Israel.

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