Syria Blames US Admin For Israeli Missile Attack Deaths
BEIRUT (AP)--Syria blamed the U.S. administration late Friday for the deaths of 23 Syrians from four Israeli missiles that slammed into a refrigerated warehouse where farm workers were loading vegetables near the Lebanon-Syria border.
The strike occurred near the town of al-Qaa, about 10 kilometers (six miles) from Hermel, a Hezbollah stronghold that has been hit by Israeli airstrikes at least three times.
The first attack was three days after fighting began 24 days ago. Hermel was largely cut off from the rest of the country after two Israeli air raids destroyed a bridge on the Orontes river in the Bekaa Valley last Saturday.
According to officials at al-Qusair National Hospital on the Lebanese-Syrian border and the National Hospital in the Syrian city of Homs, where the dead and wounded were taken, a total of at least 28 people were killed in the missile attack.
Syria's official news agency reported that 33 were killed, 23 of them Syrians. The Syrian dead included 18 men, 2 elderly women and 3 young girls, it said.
Ten were wounded. Syria said the U.S. administration was directly responsible for the deaths because of what Syrian information minister Mohsen Bilal said was Israel's reluctance to call for an immediate cease-fire despite international demands.
He called the deaths "massacres." Israeli army spokesman Capt. Jacob Dallal said that the army suspected that the warehouse was used for arms because they tracked a truck believed to be carrying weapons going into the building from the Syrian side, staying inside for about 90 minutes, then returning to Syria. The agricultural site was run by a Lebanese company.