Officials: Israel Warplanes Hit Targets near Damascus, Including Iranian Missiles Destined for Hizbullah

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Israeli warplanes struck areas in and around the Syrian capital Sunday, setting off a series of explosions as they targeted a shipment of highly accurate, Iranian-made guided missiles believed to be on their way to Hizbullah, officials and activists said.

The attack, the second in three days, signaled a sharp escalation of Israel's involvement in Syria's bloody civil war. Syria's state media reported that Israeli missiles struck a military and scientific research center near the Syrian capital and caused casualties.

An intelligence official in the Middle East, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to disclose information about a secret military operation to the media, confirmed that Israel launched an airstrike in Damascus early Sunday but did not give more precise details about the location. The target was Fateh-110 missiles, which have very precise guidance systems with better aim than anything Hizbullah has in its arsenal, the official told The Associated Press.

A diplomatic source in Beirut told Agence France Presse three sites were targeted -- a military facility, a nearby weapons depot and an anti-aircraft unit in Sabura, west of the capital.

Israel has said it wants to stay out of the brutal Syria war, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated the Jewish state would be prepared to take military action to prevent sophisticated weapons from flowing from Syria to Hizbullah or other groups.

On Sunday, Netanyahu delayed his departure on a trip to China by two hours, reportedly to attend a security cabinet meeting.

Syria's state news agency SANA reported that explosions went off at the Jamraya military and scientific research center near Damascus and said "initial reports point to these explosions being a result of Israeli missiles." SANA said there were casualties but did not give a number.

"This new Israeli aggression is a clear attempt to alleviate the pressure on the armed terrorist groups after our army beat them back in several regions and after the army's victories on the road to recovering security and stability in Syria," SANA said.

"This attack proves the direct involvement of the Israeli occupation in the conspiracy against Syria and its links with terrorist groups in the aggression supported by Western countries and some Gulf countries," SANA said of the latest strike.

An airstrike in January also targeted weapons apparently bound for Hizbullah, Israeli and U.S. officials have said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group, also reported large explosions in the area of Jamraya, a military and scientific research facility northwest of Damascus, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the Lebanese border.

Hizbullah's al-Manar TV said the research center in Jamraya was not hit. It added that an army supply center was targeted by the strike.

Al-Manar quoted unnamed Syrian security officials as saying that three sites including military barracks, arms depots and air defense center were targeted by the strike.

Al-Mayadeen TV that has several reporters around Syria said one of the strikes targeted a military position in the village of Saboura, west of Damascus and about 10 kilometers (six miles) from the Lebanon border.

An amateur video said to be shot early Sunday in the Damascus area showed fire lighting up the night sky. The video appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting.

Uzi Rubin, a missile expert and former Defense Ministry official, told the AP that if the target were Fateh-110 missiles as reported then it is a game changer as they put almost all Israel in range and can accurately hit targets.

Rubin emphasized that he was speaking as a rocket expert and had no details on reported strikes.

"If fired from southern Lebanon they can reach Tel Aviv and even (the southern city of) Beersheba." He said the rockets are much five times more accurate than the scud missiles that Hizbullah has fired in the past. "It is a game changer because they are a threat to Israel's infrastructure and military installations," he said.

Israel's first airstrike in Syria, in January, also struck Jamraya.

At the time, a U.S. official said Israel targeted trucks next to the research center that carried SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles. The strikes hit both the trucks and the research facility, the official said. The Syrian military didn't confirm a hit on a weapons shipment at the time, saying only that Israeli warplanes bombed the research center.

Israeli lawmaker Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister and a former chief of staff, declined to confirm the airstrike but said Israel is concerned about weapons falling into the hands of the group amid the chaos of Syria's civil war.

"We must remember that the Syrian system is falling apart and Iran and Hizbullah are involved up to their necks in Syria helping Bashar Assad," he told Israel Radio. "There are dangers of weapons trickling to the Hizbullah and chemical weapons trickling to irresponsible groups like al-Qaida."

Likud lawmaker and former Defense Committee chairman Tzahi Hanegbi also stopped short of confirming that Israel struck Syrian targets, but warned that the Jewish state would not tolerate a situation in which Hizbullah profited from the civil war in Syria.

Comments 30
Thumb LEBhasNOhope 05 May 2013, 07:36

So much for Syria's superior air defense systems. Of course stating the obvious will make me either an Israeli or an Israeli apologist or traitor.

Missing maroun 05 May 2013, 11:44

be true to your conviction who cares what the traitors say.

Thumb dasphinx 05 May 2013, 12:36

What is your nationality FT? I think you are totally confused. Do you feel more Syrian than Lebanese, Shiite than Lebanese, Aouni than Lebanese, or what they call Arab Nationalistic than Lebanese? Why can't you just be Lebanese and be concerned about the future of our country?

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 05 May 2013, 16:04

Independence, Maroun and dasphinx, thank you. I was actually trying to prove a point. If you beat these fools on here to the punch of their same, stale old response to everything, thy wouldn't have anything to say. Well the results speak for themselves. However, I want to thank you for your support. Isn't it wonderful when Lebanese find a commmon goal and stick together?

Thumb dasphinx 06 May 2013, 01:01

Because your logic is based on flawed assumptions. If you were a true Lebanese and care about the interest of Lebanon above all other interests, you would clearly see that the agenda of Hizbollah is to keep the country in status quo. Eventually, they will turn Lebanon (if they can) into a renegade state that is an advanced station for Iran especially following the eminent collapse of Assad. Israel knows this and this is why it is going on the offensive. Saddest part is that in order for Michel Aoun to get his carrot, he sold Lebanon to the devil.

Missing canadianadam 06 May 2013, 01:02

Clearly BS thrower you are paid because 1) you re on here all the time and 2) you repeat the same FPM lines over and over like an autistic version of Aoun.

It only makes sense that Syria and Hezbollah are trying to create distractions by inciting Israel so it can take the attention away from the massacres they re commiting. Your role as an FPM lackey is to spew your garbage agenda at any cost.

Thumb dasphinx 06 May 2013, 01:03

This is a joke, right?

Thumb geha 05 May 2013, 07:36

green lines are there to stay apparently:"Israeli attack aims at loosening the noose around the terrorists in the eastern Ghouta"
no one is allowed to change the status quo.

Missing phillipo 05 May 2013, 07:55

"no one is allowed to change the status quo."
So Hizballah has not changed the status quo in Lebanon ?

Thumb geha 05 May 2013, 08:43

the status quo in Syria, dummy :)

Default-user-icon Nonsensical (Guest) 05 May 2013, 07:57

And it was reported yesterday by Yahoo news that Syrian air defense systems were upgraded within the past few years, thus making it immpossible to have a Libya like no fly zone....LOL

Default-user-icon Deathtoshia (Guest) 05 May 2013, 08:37

inshallah!!!! War between Hezbollah and Israel !!!!!! So that both Safavid Shia and Yahud will die!!!!!
And the Sunna will be free!!!!!!!!!! Inshallah!!!! The free army will kill all Shia Rafidah and their Yahud broders!!!!!!! ALLAHU AKBAR!!!!!!!!

Thumb shab 05 May 2013, 10:46

Great news. If flyting low over Lebanon mens bombs fall in Syria, then please fly low more often

Missing phalangistes 05 May 2013, 11:36

I like those kind of morning news!!!

Thumb dasphinx 05 May 2013, 12:32

Why wasn't the "Ayoub Plane" sent to intercept the Israeli planes? Syrian defenses can shoot a Turkish jet miles away, but would not dare to shoot an Israeli plane. Moumana3a? Yeah right. What a joke.

Missing samiam 05 May 2013, 13:04

as long as HA's weapon supply is being affected in a positive way (like getting destroyed), I am all for it.

Thumb jabal10452 05 May 2013, 13:24

Nasrallah's headaches are multiplying. So weak is the Syrian government that Israel is targeting Hezbollah's supplies in Syrian territory totally unchallenged.
What I'm I gonna do now, o ayatollah, what I'm I gonna do?

Missing canadianadam 06 May 2013, 01:08

Hahhahhahahahhahah. I literally laughe out loud strider. That was great. Thanks bro.

Default-user-icon The Truth (Guest) 05 May 2013, 15:19

where is the jet that Al Manar said Syria shot down? Apparently it disappeared into thin air!

Thumb benzona 05 May 2013, 15:20

Allahû akkbar, allahû akkbar. (:

Nice اخبار

Moins d'armes dans la région ne peut être que bénéfique pour TOUS.

Default-user-icon lol (Guest) 05 May 2013, 15:28

The simple concept of weakness always has its great outcomes. You divide the country put sides against each other, then step in. I am just wondering who is the "Lawrence of Arabia " this time?

Default-user-icon Fadl (Guest) 05 May 2013, 15:37

CHOU HaSOUNA ? Condoleneces for ur dead missiles t3ich ou tekol ghayra ,so when is ur next appearance ? Cant wait to hear u bark again

Thumb scorpyonn 05 May 2013, 22:45

Let us hope that Tehran is next.

Thumb scorpyonn 05 May 2013, 22:51

You fool! Your resistance is serving another master, not Lebanon!

Default-user-icon Samer (Guest) 05 May 2013, 23:24

You know it might be a real good new..maybe Iran decided to fight its war by proxy on the Syrian territories instead of Lebanon for change? Please Hassin nasr el mot3at keep sending all your thugs to syria to fulfill their "jihadi duties"..please israel keep the air the meanwhile lets us in Lebanon sit down and watch for a change.

Thumb benzona 05 May 2013, 23:25

What Israel and Syria do to each other is none of our business. Just stay away from Lebanon and don't make us choose sides, we won't pick between Satan or Azrael.

Thumb cityboy 05 May 2013, 23:54

phoenix, I very much sympathize with your concern of the innocents. I pray that no harm is brought on to all the bystanders of any conflict. This goes for all sides. The problem is that the Arabs really havent had much choice, war has been brought upon them from israeli-west axis. There is a plot to erradicate the arab culture and society. Look at the exodus of Iraqis after the american invasion. Look at Libya, almost half the population has left the country, and now you have syria, how many syrians have been displaced. This is what the west wants, its one of their goals and by encouraging people to leave lebanon you are only assisting the wests desires. This is why they want to destroy Hezbollah, Hezbollah stands in the way of their plans to deprive Arabs of any dignity. War is not pretty but its time that the war is brought on to Israel and get rid of this cancer implanted on the middle east. Its time to show the west that the Arabs are not going anywhere.

Missing canadianadam 06 May 2013, 01:11

I want you to run for politics Lebanonfirst. I res

Missing canadianadam 06 May 2013, 01:12

I respect your stance alot my friend.

Thumb dasphinx 06 May 2013, 02:19

God bless and protect us Lebanese in general and southerners in particular from Khamenei and his soldier Hassan Nasrallah. They keep bragging about a few missiles that killed more Arabs than it did Jews in Haifa forgetting that Israel can wipe the South and all of Lebanon for that matter off the map. If Soldier Nasrallah is reading this, I would just tell him to stop taking this country as a hostage to his fanatic extremism. To him, the war between the Fake Christ who will rise from Damascus and the Mehdi al Mountazar who will rise from Iraq has already started. How about us who don't believe in this mythical war?