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Press: Israel concerned about Iraq military movements

Israel and Washington warned Saddam not to interfere in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict October 25, 2000, 10:25 AM CASABLANCA (AFP English) - Israel is viewing with concern Iraqi military movements near the Syrian and Jordanian borders, a top political source said in the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot on Wednesday. "This big Iraqi force is deployed in an offensive formation. It could be simply a symbolic initiative, but we saw what happened before the start of the Gulf War when Iraq invaded Kuwait," the source said.

"If they want, the Iraqis can ignore Jordanian sovereignty to move on Israel," the source said.

In Washington, however, the Pentagon said Tuesday that the troop movements in IraqBs western desert appeared to be part of annual training exercises and posed no danger to its neighbors.

There was no air cover nor logistical back-up for any offensive operation, the US defense department said.

According to the Yediot, Israel and the United States have stepped up contacts to counter any Iraqi threat on Israeli territory.

Israel and Washington, using several European countries as intermediaries, have warned Iraqi President Saddam Hussein -- who has called for jihad (holy war) against the Jewish state -- not to interfere in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Almost a month of clashes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has cost 138 lives, the vast majority of them Palestinian.,1690,News|31934,00.html

-- Carl Jenkins (, October 25, 2000

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