Brushing aside the Syrian Foreign Minister's assertion that the Arab state would strike back if Israel attempted any more incursions, Israeli Defence Minister Sahul Mofaz insisted the noises being made only showed Syrian embarrassment.

Israel launched an air strike on what it called a "terrorist camp" near Damascus earlier this month. Syria said Israel had struck a civilian target.

Syria did not retaliate, but its Foreign Minister Faruk al-Shara said on Sunday that it would strike back if attacked again.

"After we were attacked, we acted in a responsible way and went to the United Nations and a majority of our people supported that," Shara said.

""But if we are attacked again the people will not stand for it, and we will have to carry out the will of the people," the Syrian foreign minister said.

Israeli bluster

But Israel's defence minister said the Syrian declarations showed their embarrassment, alluding to Syria's military weakness.

At the weekly cabinet meeting, Mofaz said the Israeli air strike had caused a dilemma for Damascus.

A top Israeli government official said Israel did not think Syria was ready to launch an attack and viewed the latest declaration as a Syrian attempt "to show that they are standing fast on their interests."