U.S. Blames Iran, Syria for Hezbollah Attack

Associated Press
Wednesday, July 12, 2006; 1:17 PM

ROSTOCK, Germany (AP) -- The United States blamed Syria and Iran on Wednesday for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants and the ensuing violence.

The White House called for the immediate and unconditional release of the two soldiers.

"We condemn in the strongest terms Hezbollah's unprovoked attack on Israel and the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers," National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said as President Bush flew here for a visit. He said Hezbollah had also launched rocket attacks on civilian targets in Israel as part of its offensive.

"This is a terrorist attack and it is clearly timed to exacerbate already high tensions in the region and sow further violence," Jones said.

He said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a diplomatic trip to Paris, had been in direct contact with the parties in the region "with the purpose of holding Hezbollah accountable for its action."

"We also hold Syria and Iran -- which directly support Hezbollah -- responsible for this attack and for the ensuing violence," Jones said. "Hezbollah's terrorism is not in Lebanon's interest."

This attack demonstrates that Hezbollah's continued impunity to arm itself and carry out operations from Lebanese territory is a direct threat to the security of the Lebanese people and the sovereignty of the Lebanese government," Jones said.

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