Israeli missile test raises tension amid Syria crisis
Posted: Sep 3, 2013 5:40 AM ET
Last Updated: Sep 3, 2013 2:24 PM ET
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is warning that any "punitive" action taken against Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack last week could unleash more turmoil and bloodshed.
Ban also cautioned nations such as the United States and France that may be considering such strikes that they are legal only in self-defence under the UN charter or if approved by the UN Security Council. U.S. President Barack Obama has been seeking to rally political support for a strike against Syria.
But Ban also said that if UN inspectors confirm the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the Security Council, which has long been deadlocked on the 2½-year Syrian civil war, should overcome its differences and take action.
"If confirmed, any use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances will be a serious violation of international law and outrageous war crime," he told reporters Tuesday. "Any perpetrators must be brought to justice. There should be no impunity."
Tensions in the region were on the rise Tuesday after Israel tested a U.S.-backed missile system in the Mediterranean. The morning launch was first reported by Moscow media that quoted Russian defence officials as saying two ballistic "objects" had been fired eastward from the centre of the sea — roughly in the direction of Syria.
The news ruffled financial markets until Israel's Defence Ministry said that it, along with a Pentagon team, had carried out a test launch of a Sparrow missile. The Sparrow, which simulates the long-range missiles of Syria and Iran, is used for target practice by Israel's U.S.-backed ballistic shield Arrow.
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