[QODLink]
Middle East

Israeli air strikes hit Syrian military base

No official comment from Israel, as reports suggest attack was meant to destroy Russian-made missiles.

Last Modified: 01 Nov 2013 04:25
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Israel has launched air strikes against a Syrian airbase in the northern province of Latakia, according to media reports and officials.

A US official confirmed that "there was an Israeli strike" on Thursday but gave no detail on the location or the target, according to the AFP news agency.

Citing unnamed "exclusive sources", Saudi Arabian news network Al-Arabiya said on its website that "Israel was behind a series of explosions that rocked a Syrian airbase in the northern Latakia province.

"The bombing targeted a shipment of surface-to-air missiles [SAM] that was headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon," the report said.

Israel has 'no comment'

Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Jerusalem, said that Israel has refused to comment on the attack, but that attacks such as this are "not unusual", citing previous Israeli strikes on Syrian convoys near Damascus in January and May, as well as the destruction of a missile storage facility near Latakia in July.

Spotlight
In-depth coverage of escalating violence across Syria

"People here are saying it is very possible that Israel could have carried out this air strike, but the official line from the Israeli army is 'no comment'," she said.

American broadcaster CNN cited an unnamed US administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying Israeli warplanes carried out the attack, and that the target was missiles and related equipment the Israelis felt might be transferred to Hezbollah.

Former Syrian intelligence agent Afaq Ahmad, a defector now in exile in France, told Reuters news agency that contacts inside Syria told him that Russian-made ballistic missiles had been kept at the site that was attacked.

Israel struck a strategic missile battery near the village of Ain Shikak, he said, where President Bashar al-Assad's forces kept long-range Russian missiles that are among their most powerful weapons.

The Lebanese military said six Israeli jets had flown over Lebanese territory on Wednesday. Israeli aerial incursions over Lebanon are frequent, but such high numbers have in the past sometimes been an indication of military strikes against Syria.

Noting Syria's failure to retaliate after previous Israeli action, Ahmad said "Israel knows Assad has lost the ability to respond ... So it has been engaging in unannounced attacks on the weapons that could pose the most threat in the hands of Assad or if they are transferred to Hezbollah".

400

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.