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Israeli president calls for Arab League peacekeeping force in Syria

(Xinhua)

08:57, July 19, 2012

JERUSALEM, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday called to send an Arab League peacekeeping force to Syria to end the country's deepening crisis.

"The blood of innocent civilians and children is being shed in Syria. As a human being I cannot understand massacres and murder of innocent civilians," Peres said.

The Israeli president made the remarks during a press conference in Jerusalem with local and international media, at which he offered peace greetings to the Arab world two days before of the Muslim month-long Ramadan fast.

Peres' remarks came as violence surged in the Syrian capital of Damascus. A suicide bombing tore through the national security building in the capital Wednesday morning, killing Syrian Defense Minister Dawood Rajaha and Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat, who is also Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have discussed the chaotic situation in Syria, and Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz also consulted with Military Intelligence and other military sources, Army radio reported.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said his office was closely monitoring the situation, adding that "Israel is prepared for any eventuality," according to Army radio.

In a brief regional overview at Wednesday's press conference, Peres also touched on the political turmoil in the Arab world, the Iranian nuclear issue, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel's relations with Jordan and Egypt, his office said.

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