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Netanyahu says Israel committed to treating Syrian war wounded

Jerusalem (AFP) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel remained committed to treating war wounded from Syria and reaffirmed his support for last week’s US air strike in the neighbouring country.

In comments at the start of a cabinet meeting, Netanyahu did not specify whether those injured in last week’s suspected chemical attack in Syria would be among those treated in Israel.

Israeli media reported that a proposal to do so had been met with objections from some government and security officials due to logistical difficulties, with the location far from Israeli territory.

Israel has treated more than 3,000 war wounded from Syria in what it describes as a humanitarian gesture.

It says it treats whoever makes it to the demarcation line between the two countries regardless of affiliation, though Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused Israel of supporting “terrorists” who oppose him.

A number of analysts say the policy also has a strategic goal of portraying Israel in a positive light.

“Israel is caring for wounded Syrians as part of a humanitarian effort,” Netanyahu said. “We will continue to do so.”

Netanyahu spoke again of his support for last week’s US missile strike against a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack on rebel-held Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province.

It was Washington’s first direct military action against Assad’s government.

Israel has sought to avoid being dragged into the six-year civil war in Syria, but acknowledges carrying out air strikes there to stop what it says are deliveries of advanced weapons to its enemy Hezbollah, which is backing the Assad regime.


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