assad spiffed up 298.
(photo credit: AP [File])
Government officials said Saturday that Israel had no intention of attacking Syria, despite Syrian President Bashar Assad's statements that his country was prepared for an Israeli offensive to start "at any moment."
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"Israel has no hostile intentions toward Syria," said one senior Jerusalem source. "We have no plans to initiate conflict."
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He called Assad's comments "disturbing" and noted that the IDF units stationed in the North had remained at the same "high level of readiness" since the outbreak of the war in Lebanon although the fighting had halted.
In an interview with the Kuwaiti daily Al-Anba over the weekend, Assad said, "We are preparing for an Israeli attack at any moment" and said Israel had given up on the peace process even though most of the issues between the two countries had been resolved.
Assad has alternated between bellicose declarations and calls for peace in the weeks following the Lebanon war.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also warned in a weekend interview of the possibility of regional war.
"The Middle East is on the verge of exploding," Mubarak told an Egyptian army journal in a story marking 33 years since the Yom Kippur War.
He urged Palestinians to put aside their differences and enter peace talks for their own good, suggesting that the fighting between Hamas and Fatah could spark a larger conflict.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment on Assad's remarks and said he was unfamiliar with the Mubarak interview.