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Syria Accuses Israel Of Rocket Attack

  • RFE/RL

Activists posted video online purporting to show the explosions.

Activists posted video online purporting to show the explosions.

Syrian state-run media have accused Israel of carrying out a rocket attack on a military research center in Damascus.

The claim was made after explosions rocked the Syrian capital early on May 5.

There was no immediate word on the extent of casualties or damage.

Syrian parliamentarian Feyez al-Sayegh, speaking to Reuters in Damascus, said the government would speak to its allies before taking any action.

"When Syria responds to this aggression, it will hold a series of consultations with its allies and friends around the world, including Russia, China, Iran, as well as resistance forces in the region," he said. "I believe the government is looking into how it will respond either by other means or by direct military response."

Israel and its ally the United States had no immediate comment on the report.

If confirmed, it would be Israel’s second strike on targets in Syria in three days -- signaling an escalation of Israeli involvement in Syria’s civil war.

Syrian state-run television said: "The new Israeli attack is an attempt to raise the morale of the terrorist groups which have been reeling from strikes by our noble army.”

The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blasts hit the Jamraya military research center, as well as a nearby ammunition depot. Activists said other Syrian military sites may also have been hit.

Video posted on the Internet by activists showed a series of explosions lighting up the Damascus night.

The Jamraya research center that was reported attacked was also targeted by an Israeli strike in January.

The blasts occurred one day after officials confirmed that Israel had carried out an air strike early on May 3 targeting a shipment of missiles in Syria.

That shipment was reportedly headed for the anti-Israeli Lebanese militant group Hizballah, an ally of the Syrian government.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Israel has the right to protect itself against the transfer of advanced weapons to Hizballah.

Obama, in an interview with Spanish-language television during a visit to Costa Rica, declined to comment directly about Israeli raids, saying: "I'll let the Israeli government confirm or deny whatever strikes that they've taken.”

Israel and Hizballah fought a monthlong war in 2006.

Egypt and the Arab League demanded that the UN Security Council act to stop what it called "Israeli attacks" against Syria.

The Egyptian president's office issued a statement saying the air strikes "violated international law and principles that will further complicate the situation."

The Arab League demanded the Security Council "act immediately to end Israeli attacks on Syria," which it described as a "dangerous violation of an Arab state's sovereignty."

A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry condemned the reported air strike and urged countries in the region to stand up against Tel Aviv.

Ramin Mehmanparast, quoted by Iran's Press TV, accused Israel of "aggression" and described the reported attack as a "calculated" attempt to create instability in the region.

The United Nations says at least 70,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, which began two years ago with protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP