UN Secretary-General Ban speaks at a joint news conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary Hague at the Foreign Secretary's official residence in London

Ban ‘gravely concerned’ over alleged Israel strike in Syria

by YAAKOV LAPPIN, REUTERS  |  published on February 1, 2013

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “grave concern” on Thursday over reports that Israeli jets bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border, apparently hitting weapons destined for Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

“The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to prevent tensions or their escalation … and to strictly abide by international law, in particular in respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries in the region,” Ban’s press office said in a statement.

Syria summoned the head of a United Nations mission in the Golan Heights on Thursday to protest against the Israeli air raid which Damascus said is a violation of a disengagement accord that followed the last major war between the two countries.

However, UN peacekeepers in a demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel were unable to verify the Syrian complaint that Israeli planes had flown over the Golan Heights area, a spokesman for Ban said on Thursday.

“UNDOF (the peacekeeping mission) did not observe any planes flying over the area of separation and therefore was not able to confirm the incident. UNDOF also reported bad weather conditions,” UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey told reporters.

Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon said that Damascus had the option of a “surprise decision” to respond to Israel’s alleged strike on a research center on the outskirts of the Syrian capital.

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