U.S. Confirms Israeli Strikes Hit Syrian Target Last Week

New York Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 – After days of silence from the Israeli government, American officials confirmed Tuesday that Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes inside Syria last week, the first such attack since 2003.

A Defense Department official said Israeli jets had struck at least one target in northeastern Syria last Thursday, but the official said it was still unclear exactly what the jets hit and the extent of the bombing damage.

Officials in Washington said that the most likely targets of the raid were weapons caches that Israel’s government believes Iran has been sending the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah through Syria. Iran and Syria are Hezbollah’s primary benefactors, and American intelligence officials say a steady flow of munitions from Iran runs through Syria and into Lebanon.

[..] One Bush administration official said Israel had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea. The administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria.

“The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” the official said. He said it was unclear whether the Israeli strike had produced any evidence that might validate that belief.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a military action by another government. [..]


[..] Israeli jets flying over Syrian airspace delivered a powerful message from the Jewish State. Israeli leaders aren’t talking about it, but according to press reports the Israeli planes wheeled out of the sky firing missiles at an installation that housed large supplies of weaponry from Iran. The Israeli message, directed at Syria, was this: “You cannot with impunity continue to rearm Hezbollah directly, nor allow your territory to be used by Iran to transship arms. Doing so has consequences. As we demonstrated last summer, we can reach Hezbollah. We are reminding you that we know what you are doing and where you are doing it and want you to understand the grave consequences that follow from your policy.” This will be true even if it turns out that the Israeli strike was against a new sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft system that, its engineers bragged, was immune to electronic jamming. Syria and Iran should know that they have no protection from Israeli and American air power.[..]

September 12, 2007 | Comments Off on U.S. Confirms Israeli Strikes Hit Syrian Target Last Week

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