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EGYPT WARNS ISRAEL AGAINST ATTACKING SYRIA
CAIRO [MENL] -- Egypt has warned Israel against any attack on Syria.
Egyptian officials have warned the Jewish state that Cairo will not stand by idly should Syria be attacked. The officials also warned Israel against attacking the Palestinian Authority.
The warnings were issued on the eve of a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. It was the first visit by Peres to Cairo under the current government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Peres will meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday. Hours before the meeting, Mubarak's adviser Osama El Baz, warned Israel that Syria would not be alone in any Israeli attack.
"If Israel intends to launch military operations against Syria," El Baz said, "it would pay dearly for its mistake because Syria cannot be alone in the event of an Israeli aggression."
The adviser, however, said the chance of war between Israel and Syria is low.
El Baz also warned Israel against destroying the PA. He said this would destroy any Israeli relations with the Arab world. Mubarak is also expected to meet PA Chairman Yasser Arafat on Sunday.
Overnight Sunday, PA gunners fire mortars toward the Israeli community of Nahal Oz and at Jewish settlements in Gaza.
Israeli military sources said Arafat's Fatah movement is taking the lead in attacks. A government report submitted to the Israeli Cabinet warned of Palestinian plans to attack Israeli cities.
For their part, Syrian sources confirmed that it tested a Scud B missile with a chemical warhead on July 1. The sources said this was a message to Israel not to launch any attack on Damascus.
On Sunday, the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat daily said Egypt and Syria are preparing a leadership summit to discuss the Israeli-Turkish strategic relationship. The newspaper said a meeting between Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar Assad will take place soon.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), July 15, 2001