DAMASCUS, Syria — Snipers opened fire Monday at a U.N. vehicle belonging to a team investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus, a U.N. spokesman said. The Syrian government accused the rebels of firing at the team.
Activists said later that the team had arrived in Moadamiyeh, a western suburb of the capital and one of the areas where the purported attack occurred. They said the team was meeting with doctors and victims at a makeshift hospital.
Martin Nesirky, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the vehicle was "deliberately shot at multiple times" in the buffer zone area between rebel- and government-controlled territory, adding that the team was safe.
World leaders have suggested that an international response to the attack was likely.
Hagel: U.S. looking at intelligence in Syria attack
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday that the Obama administration was studying intelligence on Syria's purported use of chemical weapons and "will get the facts" before acting.
Speaking with reporters after meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Hagel said, "We are analyzing the intelligence and we will get the facts and if there is any action taken it will be in concert with the international community and within the framework of a legal justification."
Hagel said President Barack Obama "is considering all different options."
The defense chief said he would not talk about a military response "until we get all the facts and we are absolutely confident of what happened in Syria" with regard to the purported chemical weapons attack of last Wednesday.
Official says Syria to defend itself
A senior Syrian official says his country will defend itself against any international attack and vows Syria will not be an easy target.
In an interview with The Associated Press in Damascus on Monday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said strikes against Syria would trigger "chaos" and threaten worldwide peace and security.
He said a U.N. team in Damascus currently investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons should be allowed to do its work, before the world makes any judgment.