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Old 03-30-2005, 03:15 AM   #1
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Syria Trains Terrorists

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ASHKELON, Israel Mar 29, 2005 — A 20-year-old Palestinian recruited from a mosque in Gaza by Hamas militants told The Associated Press in a jailhouse interview Tuesday that he received weeks of military training in a Hamas camp in Syria this year.

The allegations by Osama Mattar, now in Israeli custody, mark the first time a Palestinian has spoken publicly about being trained in Syria, and contradict repeated Syrian denials.

The training base outside Damascus was far from secret and was once even inspected by Syrian intelligence agents, Mattar said.

"They know very well about the presence of Hamas," he said. "What they may not have known about was the presence of a guy from Gaza coming to train at the training camp in Syria."

Israel has long accused Syria of allowing Palestinian militants to train there and offered up Mattar arrested March 2 as he tried to cross back into Gaza as proof.

Israeli officials also said the timeframe of Mattar's five-week training, which ended in mid-February, proved Hamas was not serious about halting attacks on Israel. Mattar disagreed, saying his trip had been planned months before any talk of a cease-fire.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups have acknowledged they train Palestinians in Lebanon.

Hamas officials declined public comment Tuesday, but said privately it made no sense to run training bases in Syria when it can use neighboring Lebanon, home to sprawling Palestinian refugee camps.

Syrian officials at the Foreign Ministry, who are usually slow to respond to such sensitive topics, were not available for comment Tuesday, despite repeated attempts by The Associated Press.

With Western pressure on Syria mounting to curtail military activity, militant groups have been careful not to embarrass their hosts in Damascus. While many militant leaders remain in Syria, they issue most of their statements from Lebanon.

Syria has repeatedly denied accusations it allows militants to train on its territory. The Syrian government says it once allowed militants to run media offices from Damascus, but those were closed after a visit by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in May 2003.
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:12 AM   #2
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syria is notorious for these kind of practices. press them hard enough and they'll get rid of the camps. we nearly went to war with them because of something like this, then they backed off.
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:24 AM   #3
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The Axis of Evil needs a new third member.
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:55 AM   #4
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This is not cool.
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Old 03-30-2005, 12:58 PM   #5
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tsk tsk.










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Old 03-30-2005, 06:28 PM   #6
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Can't wait until the dorktator is overthrown.
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:43 PM   #7
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
The Axis of Evil needs a new third member.
oh please, axis of evil is just ridiculous
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