Israeli Prime Minister Sharon Issues Blunt Warning To Foes

Business Day

October 8, 2003


JERUSALEM Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned yesterday that Israel was ready to attack its enemies at any time and in any way it deemed fit after an air strike on Syrian soil and a deadly flare-up in violence across the border with Lebanon.

"Israel will continue to defend its citizens and we will not hesitate to strike our enemies in any place and (using) any method," Sharon said in his first declaration since the Israeli Air Force bombed a suspected training camp for Palestinian militants near Damascus on Sunday.

"But at the same time we will not pass up any opportunity for peace with our neighbours," he said at a ceremony in west Jerusalem to mark the 30th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War with Syria and Egypt.

"The battle continues. This generation will steadfastly continue with the fight against the terrorist organisations as the thirst for blood has no limits as we saw again last Saturday," Sharon said, referring to a weekend suicide attack in the northern city of Haifa that left 19 dead.

The Israeli military's chief of staff, Gen Moshe Yaalon, said the strike would serve as a warning to Damascus to stop helping Palestinian "terrorists".

In an interview published by the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat yesterday Syrian President Bashar alAssad accused Sharon of trying to drag Syria into war.

" Sharon wants to drag Syria and the rest of the region into war," Assad said.

Oct 08 2003 07:44:49:000AM Marius Schattner Business Day 1st Edition,3523,1448812-6098-0,00.html