Majadle: Alleged IAF flyover won't spark war with Syria

In first official Israeli response to reported foray, minister says it's likely IAF was taking photos or entered Syrian airspace in error.

By JPOST STAFF, AP
September 7, 2007 11:47
1 minute read.
Majadle: Alleged IAF flyover won't spark war with Syria

Syria Kunietra 298.88. (photo credit: Jonathan Beck)

 
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In the first reaction from an Israeli official to Wednesday night's alleged IAF foray over Syria, Science, Culture and Sports Minister Ghaleb Majadle said Friday that IAF planes enter Syrian airspace on a daily basis, adding that he did not believe the latest alleged incident would spark off a war. Majadle told the Nazareth-based A-Sinara newspaper that while he had no specific information about the latest alleged operation, it was likely that "the planes either entered Syrian airspace to take photographs or in error." Earlier Friday, Syria accused Israel of jeopardizing the chances of success in the upcoming US-sponsored Middle East meeting. Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Ja'afari told Al-Jazeera that the alleged IAF operation came only a few hours after Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo had published a message of support for the meeting and had called for Syria to be invited. Also, a Syrian government newspaper warned that the country "possesses the means to respond ... so that it will deter Israel against proceeding with such unpredictable adventures." Defense officials said late Thursday that Israel was "fully prepared" for the possibility of a conflict in the North, after Syria alleged it had fired on the pre-dawn IAF flight over the coastal city of Latakia. Also, security officials estimated that Syria would plan to attack Israeli targets abroad in reaction to the alleged IAF foray, Army Radio reported. The IDF officially refused to comment on the reports from Syria that its air defenses fired on a formation of IAF warplanes that entered Syrian airspace from the Mediterranean. In Washington, the US State Department had no specific comment on the incident, citing the lack of details about what happened. "I'd leave it up to the parties to describe what happened. We'll leave it to them to try and sort this out," deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters Thursday. Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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