Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks during a bilateral meeting with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the Pentagon, Monday, April 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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Calls grew Monday for an international response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Syrian town, with the United States warning that it was not excluding military action.With tensions high, the spectre of Western military action was raised by deadly missile strikes on a regime airbase, but Damascus and Moscow said Israel was responsible.Rescuers and medics in Douma say at least 48 people died after a "poisonous chlorine gas attack" late Saturday in Douma, the last rebel-held pocket of the onetime opposition stronghold of Eastern Ghouta.It briefly appeared in the early hours of Monday that action had been taken, as Syrian state media reported missile strikes on an airbase, but blame later fell on Israel which has carried out repeated strikes on regime targets.Washington and Paris denied having carried out the strikes and SANA and the Russian army said later that Israeli F-15s had fired several missiles at the base from Lebanese airspace.Israel declined to comment on the latest strike.Israel has repeatedly warned it will not accept its arch-foe Iran entrenching itself militarily in Syria.
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