Bush backs 'unlimited' Israeli defence

US President George Bush has said Israel should not feel constrained in defending itself, amid rising regional tensions.

    US president has given Israel unflinching support

    Bush on Monday said he backed Israel's right to "self-defence". His remarks came after an Israeli air raid the day before on an alleged training camp for Palestinian fighters in Syria.

    The Israeli raid followed a Palestinian bombing that killed 19 people in Israel on Saturday.

    The US president's comments will concern Arab governments and other critics of Israel, as they appear to endorse actions such as Sunday's airstrike in Syria.

    The Israeli attack was widely condemned by the international community except in the US.

    Avoiding escalation

    Bush said he had told Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday that Israel should not feel constrained in defending itself.

    "However, I said that it's very important that any action Israel take [sic] should avoid escalation and creating higher tensions," Bush said in Washington.

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the United States had urged both Israel and Syria to avoid "actions that heighten tensions or that could lead to hostilities".

    But tensions continued to rise throughout Monday. The Israeli army said one of its soldiers had been shot dead at Israel's border with Lebanon, and military sources blamed his death on Hizb Allah guerrillas backed by Iran and Syria.

    Hizb Allah denied its forces had been involved in any shooting.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.