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Trump, Israel, Pope condemn chemical attack in Syria

A senior State Department official, who asked for anonymity, said that everything pointed to the fact that the chemical attack was a “war crime” and that the countries backing Assad — Russia and Iran — have much to answer for.

US President Donald Trump condemned the "intolerable" alleged chemical attack on civilians in Syria and blamed the Bashar al-Assad regime, media reports said.

"Today's (Tuesday) chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world," Efe news quoted Trump as saying on Tuesday. He said that "heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution", referring to former President Barack Obama, who "said in 2012 that he would establish a 'red line' against the use of chemical weapons" in Syria but then "did nothing".

"The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack," the President concluded. A senior State Department official, who asked for anonymity, said that everything pointed to the fact that the chemical attack was a "war crime" and that the countries backing Assad — Russia and Iran — have much to answer for.

Israel expressed outrage, saying that the world must act to rid the country of chemical weapons. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community "to fulfill its obligation from 2013 to fully and finally remove these horrible weapons from Syria". "When I saw pictures of babies suffocating from a chemical attack in Syria, I was shocked and outraged. There's no, none, no excuse whatsoever for the deliberate attacks on civilians and on children, especially with cruel and outlawed chemical weapons," Netanyahu said at a memorial service in Jerusalem. President Reuven Rivlin described the incident as a "stain on all humanity" stating that the horrors of Holocaust compels Israel "not to remain mute" to such actions.

Pope Francis also condemned the attack. "We watch horrified as the latest events in Syria unfold," Francis said at his midweek public audience in St Peter's square. "I completely deplore the unacceptable massacre that took place in Idlib province yesterday, where dozens of defenceless people, including many children, were killed."
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