AL-DREIJ, Syria – Metal scraps, cement bricks and rubble from a wrecked building covered the ground of an alleged Palestinian militant training camp Monday, a day after Israeli rockets blasted the site in retaliation for a suicide bombing.
Nestled in a ravine of olive and fig trees, the heavily damaged Ein Saheb (search) camp could be seen from this nearby village. An Associated Press reporter saw workers inside clearing away the mess of what appeared to be a destroyed one-story house. Three cement buildings remained intact. A damaged water tank, filled with green water, sat next to a half-full, dirty swimming pool.
Sunday marked the first Israeli attack so deep inside Syrian territory in three decades. Israel struck what it called an Islamic Jihad training base in retaliation for the group's suicide attack Saturday at a seaside northern Israeli restaurant, which killed 19 bystanders and wounded 55.
But Islamic Jihad (search) said it had no bases in Syria, and villagers nearby side the camp was once used by Palestinian militants but was abandoned more than a decade ago. Syrian officials condemned what they called an attack on a civilian target.
A villager who spoke on condition of anonymity said he went down to the targeted area hours after Sunday's 4:30 a.m. air raid and found parts of Russian-made automatic rifles, which he gathered and handed over to police.
Syrian security forces cordoned off the camp after the attack and barred journalists from entering or nearing.
The strike also caused damage in the nearby village of al-Dreij, 15 miles northwest of the Syrian capital, Damascus. Villagers on Monday were repairing shattered windows and doors.
One man said he heard the "terrifying" sound of four explosions Sunday from his family's one-story house, about 500 yards from the camp.
"We felt that our house moved from its place," said Omar, in his 20s, who asked to be identified by only his first name. "My father was sleeping in the garden that morning and saw the red flames of the explosions."
He said the camp was known to be run by Palestinian militants in the past but had been empty for years. Other residents said the ravine has lately been used only by hikers and picnickers.
"We went down (to the camp) two hours after the attack and there was so much damage," Omar said, adding that security agents questioned some villagers.
An official with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command told The Associated Press that his militant group once ran the camp but abandoned it seven years ago. He refused to give a reason, and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A leader of the group earlier told AP a civilian guard was injured in the attack.
On Monday, Syria's state-run newspapers gave equal coverage to the attack and the 30th anniversary of the last Syrian-Israeli war in 1973.
Al-Baath, the official newspaper of the ruling Baath Party (search), had two main headlines: one a U.N. Security Council meeting called after Syria complained about Israel's attack Sunday; the other was on the October War, which it called "an immortal record of epics, heroic acts and sacrifices."
Syria and Israel -- fierce foes who remain technically at war -- have fought three major conflicts, in 1948, 1967 and 1973. But since the last war, the border between them has been calm, and their conflict played out mainly in neighboring Lebanon, where Syria holds sway and backs the anti-Israeli guerrilla movement Hezbollah.
At the emergency U.N. meeting, all council diplomats except U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte spoke out against the airstrike, and most also condemned the deadly suicide bombing Saturday in the Israeli port city of Haifa.
Leaders in most Arab countries criticized Israel's attack on Syria, as did Britain, China, Russia and the European Union.