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Trump says will make a decision by end of day on response to Syrian chemical attack

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U.S. President Donald Trump holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

By Middle East Affairs

U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he would likely decide by the end of the day on a response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria on Saturday that killed at least 60 people, Reuters reports.

Speaking on the subject at a cabinet meeting, Trump said he was talking with military leaders and would decide who was responsible for the attack, whether it was Russia, Iran, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, or if all three are the culprits.

“We’ll be making that decision very quickly probably by the end of the day. But we cannot allow atrocities like that,” Trump said. “Nothing is off the table,” he said, when reporters at the meeting asked if U.S. military action was a possibility.

When asked if there was any doubt over who was responsible for the attack, Trump said: “To me there’s not much of a doubt but the generals will figure it out probably over the next 24 hours.”

The Syrian government and Russia have denied accusations of involvement in the attack.

Reuters reported Monday that U.S. government sources suggested a nerve agent was used in the attack but more evidence was needed to say for sure. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he would not rule out military action, such as air strikes, if the culprit was proven.

Other countries and groups also said proof would render a response. Britain said it was working with its allies on a joint response and France said it would work closely with the United States in the case of a chemical attack.