Israel PM Cites 'Security' after Syria-Lebanon Border Raidإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday Israel was doing all that was "necessary" to ensure its security, following reports of an air raid against Hizbullah targets on the Syrian-Lebanese border.
"We are doing everything that is necessary in order to defend the security of Israel," Netanyahu said at a joint news conference in Jerusalem with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"We will not say what we're doing or what we're not doing" to maintain Israel's security, he said in a cryptic reply to a question on the raid.
On Monday night, "two Israeli raids hit a Hizbullah target on the border of Lebanon and Syria," a Lebanese security source told AFP.
The National News Agency confirmed the report, adding that the raids targeted the countryside of the Lebanese town of Nabi Sheet on the border.
Hizbullah is an arch-enemy of Israel, and has sent thousands of fighters across the border to aid Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime as it battles Sunni-led rebels.
Syria has long provided arms and other aid to Hizbullah, and served as a key conduit of Iranian military aid to the movement, which battled Israel to a bloody stalemate in 2006.
Residents of Nabi Sheet told AFP they saw flares light up the sky ahead of the raids, which shook their houses.
People in neighboring areas said they heard planes flying low and that the target appeared to be a Hizbullah position in the mountains near the town.
Nabi Sheet is a bastion of Hizbullah, and the group has a suspected weapons store and training camp there.
The morning after the attack, the Israeli army refused to comment, but Israel's media implied the Jewish state's air force was behind the strikes.
Israel's top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot ran the front page headline, "Foreign reports: Israeli strike in Lebanon", while referring to strikes Israel implicitly admitted carrying out against Hizbullah in Syria last year.
There was no official comment from Hizbullah, Syria or Lebanon.
Israeli media Tuesday implied the army was responsible for air raids that struck the Hizbullah position, but the military held its silence.
Israel rarely comments on raids against Hizbullah but it has repeatedly warned it will not tolerate the transfer of weapons to the party from its key regional allies Iran and Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said the target was a Hizbullah "missile base".
Hizbullah's television, al-Manar, denied that any raid took place, reporting only the "strong presence of enemy planes over the area north of the Bekaa" Valley in eastern Lebanon.
The Israeli military denied to comment on the reports and officials were equally mum.
Local media however suggested Israel was behind the raids.
Other Israeli media pointed to weekend remarks by Israeli army chief Lieutenant General Benny Gantz who warned against arms transfer from Syria to Hizbullah in Lebanon.
"We are monitoring closely the transfer of all types of weapons to all fronts," Gantz was quoted as saying.
"Sometimes, in case of necessity, something can happen," he said in an apparent reference to possible Israeli military intervention.
Gantz also accused Iran of transferring arms.
"There is not one single front where the Iranians are not involved, handing out torches to pyromaniacs, in the form of weapons, missiles or fighters," he said during a tour of the Golan Heights.
Late October, media reported that Israeli warplanes struck a Syrian airbase where missiles for Hizbullah were stockpiled.
At the time a U.S. official confirmed to Agence France Presse an Israeli strike in Syria but did not elaborate.