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Assad accuses Israel of meddling

DAMASCUS — Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad has accused Israel of trying to “destabilise” his country.

It was his first remarks on last week’s reported Israeli air strike in Syria.

Syrian television has shown images of the raid Damascus says Israeli jets carried out on a military research centre in Jamraya last Wednesday.

US officials said the air strike targeted a weapons convoy bound for Lebanon. The Israeli defence minister has hinted his country was responsible.

Ehud Barak told a security conference in Germany today that the strike was “proof that when we say something we mean it”.

“We don’t think [Syria] should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon,” he told the meeting of top international diplomats and defence officials.

President Assad said today that last Wednesday’s raid “unmasked the true role Israel is playing, in collaboration with foreign enemy forces and their agents on Syrian soil, to destabilise and weaken Syria”.

But he said, in a meeting with Saeed Jalili, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, that his country’s military was able to confront “current threats … and aggression”.

Syria’s state al-Ikhbariya television showed what it said was the aftermath of the air strike at the research centre at Jamraya, north-east of Damascus. Footage of a damaged building and burnt out vehicles was combined with accounts from witnesses. (BBC)

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