Syria denies role in bombing of French UN troops

France had claimed that Syria had used the militant group Hezbollah for such attacks in the past.

Damascus: Syria on Monday denied involvement in
a bombing that wounded five French UN peacekeepers in southern
Lebanon, a day after France said Damascus was probably behind
the attack.

"Syria has no link whatsoever with this act which we
condemn," foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi said in a
statement that also criticised French Foreign Minister Alain
Juppe for pointing a finger at Damascus.

Juppe said yesterday that Syria was probably behind the
bombing in southern Lebanon, adding however that so far he had
no proof to back his claim.

"We have strong reasons to think that this attack came
from there," Juppe told the TV5 Monde television channel and
Le Monde newspaper.

Juppe claimed that Syria had used the militant group
Hezbollah for such attacks in the past.

"I don`t have proof," he said, however.
Also on Sunday, Lebanese pro-Western opposition leader
and ex-prime minister Saad Hariri tweeted that Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad was to blame for the attack.

"Another message from Bashar," Hariri said on Twitter.
"Another Syrian message," he wrote.

In his statement, Makdisi said that "remarks by Mr Juppe
and others are within the framework of premeditated French
accusations made to mask the reality concerning Syria."

The five French members of the United Nations Interim
Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were wounded yesterday when a bomb
targeted their patrol on the outskirts of the coastal city of
Tyre. Two passers-by were also wounded.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the
third this year on UNIFIL soldiers.


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