(JTA) — AIPAC officials reportedly said the pro-Israel group will lobby U.S. lawmakers to authorize a retaliatory strike on Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
The unnamed officials told several media outlets over the weekend that the group would send activists to Capitol Hill this week to garner support for a resolution to launch a limited military strike in retaliation for the Aug. 21 attack by the Syrian government.
Investigations have provided mounting evidence that President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons in an attack in near Damascus that killed some 1,400 people, including approximately 400 children.
President Obama is working to gain support from Congress to launch the limited strike in response to the attack.
Meanwhile, Assad said in an interview that he did not use chemical weapons against his citizens, CBS reported Sunday.
“There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people,” Assad said in the interview conducted in Damascus, according to the network’s news program “Face the Nation” announcing the interview a day before its airing.
The CBS report came hours after the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that the Syrian army may have launched the attack without Assad’s approval.
CNN on Saturday night began airing videos shown by the Obama administration to key members of the Senate in which victims are seen dying in the attack’s aftermath.
The announcement by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee — among many Jewish groups backing Obama’s call to strike Syria militarily — comes as Israel continues to keep a low public profile regarding Syria.
Israel, however, continues to distribute gas masks to its citizens over concerns of retaliatory chemical weapons attacks by Syria on Israel.
Also Sunday, Reuters quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying that the United States would notify Israel several hours before it launched an attack on Syria.
The news agency also reported that its television division filmed what it believed to be an Iron Dome anti-missile battery being positioned on the periphery of Jerusalem.