The raid, Israel’s deepest into Syria since the 1973 Middle East war, was a violent shock.
One taxi driver, Mahir Awad, echoed others around him who hoped for a military response on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the war.
Awad said: “I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard. I wish I was there with a shotgun in my hand.”
A university student, Jamal, said he hoped the government would send its own air force “to show them what Syrians can do”.
US criticises Damascus
Israel alleges the raid targeted a training camp for Palestinian resistance fighters.
But Syria denies the accusation and denounced the attack.
Damascus has also urged the United States not to block a UN Security Council resolution condemning the attack.
However, US Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte has accused Syria of harbouring “terrorists” and refused to criticise Tel Aviv for the strike.
One elderly man, Abu Qasim said: “This man [Negroponte] was talking as if he owns the world telling us we are terrorists. Did he forget what [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon did in Sabra and Shatila?”
Sharon, then defence minister, is widely blamed for the 1982 massacre by Israeli-backed Lebanese Christian militiamen in Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon, in which hundreds of civilians were killed.
“There is no sense of right and wrong anymore. Those Americans and Israelis think they are strong but they forget that Allah is stronger”
“There is no sense of right and wrong anymore,” Abu Qasim added. “Those Americans and Israelis think they are strong but they forget that Allah is stronger.”
Iman, a housewife, said she was scared after the raid that her children were not safe.
“If they did it once they can do it again and the next time it may be bigger. They kill people in Palestine all the time,” added the young mother of two.
She was the only one to voice fear among a dozen people interviewed in Damascus, but her concern was echoed at Palestinian camps in Beirut.
“The Israeli monster is out of control now, no one can stop it. It has gone crazy,” said Walid, a resident of Burj al-Barajna camp. “All Palestinians abroad are targets now.”
The Israeli raid was widely seen to have further damaged any prospect for Middle East peace.
“All this talk about peace is false. What the Israelis really want is new massacres,” said Abu Salah, a resident of Beirut’s Shatila camp.