Officials at Syrian site deny IAF attack

Arab research center says it's astonished by the "lies and fabrications," invites press to visit.

September 30, 2007 15:25
1 minute read.
Officials at Syrian site deny IAF attack

syrian raid site 224.88. (photo credit: Channel 2)


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The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands in Syria called the claims of an IAF attack on September 6 "lies and fabrications," AFP reported on Sunday. Center officials denied the reports and said that after seeing pictures of the center in newspapers, they realized that the alleged strike was supposedly carried out in one of their abandoned sites. An official message by the center read: "We were astonished by reports of an Israeli strike on one of our centers. The reports about the center in the Zionist press are lies and fabrications." The center also offered journalists from around the world a tour of the site. Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Ja'afari said that nothing in Syria had been bombed by the IAF, and nothing was damaged. Reports of such an attack were "ridiculous and not true," he said. Ja'afari added that "Syria does not have North Korean nuclear facilities." The Washington Post reported last month that the US had been gathering evidence over the past six months, mainly from Israel, that North Korea had been cooperating with Syria on a nuclear facility. This evidence - codenamed 'Orchard' - was said to include "dramatic satellite imagery that led some US officials to believe that the facility could be used to produce material for nuclear weapons." On Saturday, Syrian Vice President Farouk Shara said that everything reported so far about the alleged IAF air raid on Syria was wrong and part of a "psychological war" against Damascus intended to lay the groundwork for future attacks. "If some people in Israel think that this psychological war will restore [the image of] the Israeli army following its defeat by the Lebanese resistance last year, they should know that what Israel needs is to restore the Israeli mind," Shara said. Details of the alleged incursion remain unclear. While Israel has clamped a news blackout on the incident, US officials have said IAF warplanes struck a target, and a senior American nonproliferation official said earlier this month that North Korean personnel were in Syria helping its nuclear program, resulting in speculation that nuclear installations had been targeted.

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