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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Syria Urges U.S. to Condemn Airstrike

UNITED NATIONS -- Syria demanded that the UN Security Council condemn Israel's airstrike against a purported terrorist training camp near Damascus, but the United States said it would not support any resolution that does not also criticize attacks against Israel.

At an emergency meeting called at Syria's request Sunday, most council diplomats spoke out against both the airstrike and the suicide bombing in the Israeli port city of Haifa that killed 19 people and prompted Israel's retaliation.

However, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte focused his condemnation on the Haifa attack, while blaming Syria for harboring terrorists.

"The United States believes that Syria is on the wrong side of the war on terrorism," he said. "We believe it is in Syria's interest, and in the broader interest of Middle East peace, for Syria to stop harboring and supporting the groups that perpetrate acts such as the one that occurred yesterday" in Haifa.

The European Union on Monday condemned "a very distressing weekend" of violence in the Middle East and said an Israeli air strike against a purported terrorist training camp in Syria was "unacceptable." EU spokeswoman Emma Udwin said the 15-nation bloc called for calm on all sides.

Russia appeared to give some support to the U.S. position on Monday, saying the proposed UN resolution condemning Israel should be reworked.

"We believe it would benefit from a more balanced form," Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov was quoted as saying by Interfax. "In particular, we think it should include a clause on the need to stop terrorist attacks in the region."

The attack on Sunday was the first Israeli strike deep within Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and it alarmed other Middle Eastern nations.

The Arab League said the bombing "exposes the deteriorating situation in the region to uncontrollable consequences, which could drag the whole region into violent whirlpool."

The raid was a new tactic for Israel in its attempts to stop Palestinian militants. Closures, assassinations and military strikes into Palestinian areas have failed to stop suicide attacks, and Washington strongly opposes expelling Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as Israel has threatened. In the West Bank, Arafat declared a state of emergency and installed an emergency cabinet with Ahmed Qureia as prime minister.

The Islamic militant group Hamas said it fired 16 mortar shells at Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip overnight in retaliation for the Israeli airstrike. The Israeli army said it was checking the claim. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Hamas also said it would also carry out more attacks in Israel. "Any aggression against an Arab or Islamic country is an aggression against the Palestinian people and, God willing, our response to this aggression will be decisive," read a statement on a Hamas web site.

"We call on our fighters ... to respond quickly, and in the heart of the Zionist entity, to this serious escalation," it said.