Israel has bombed a Syria-backed missile transfer in an airstrike that occurred on Thursday or Friday. Although the details are still emerging, it appears that Israel acted to stop a delivery of advanced missiles to the Hezbollah terror organization, according to rumors being reported by multiple media sources. According to CNN, two unnamed US officials said that the Pentagon is aware of the strike but is still gathering intelligence.
CCN’s sources said that Israeli planes didn’t need to enter Syria to conduct the strike. The mission coincides with a Lebanese Army claim that Israeli warplanes entered Lebanon’s airspace between Thursday evening and Friday afternoon.
While Israel hadn’t commented officially at the time of writing, an unnamed source told CNN that,”We will do whatever is necessary to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorist organizations.”
The rumored strike comes after days of White House speculation about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria. Despite some early rumors that Israel had bombed a Syrian chemical weapons site, sources like The New York Times are now saying that the target was a shipment of highly advanced missiles headed for Hezbollah’s Shiite militia.
According to the NYT, a senior Israeli official told them: “Chemicals maybe get a lot of press and attention, but one of the clear things worrying us is advanced conventional weapons.”
Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has a close relationship with Hezbollah, and the troubled nation has served as a gateway for shipping weapons to the group.
Hezbollah and Syria haven’t acknowledged the Israeli bombing, which would be a propaganda as well as a military win both for Israeli and rebel forces in Syria.
One of those unnamed rebels told Reuters that, “There were three strikes by Israeli F-16 jets that damaged a convoy carrying anti-aircraft missiles heading to the Shi’ite Lebanese party (Hezbollah) along the Damascus-Beirut military road.”
On Friday night, the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. issued a statement that said that Israel wouldn’t permit “the transfer of chemical weapons or other game-changing weaponry by the Syrian regime to terrorists, specially to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
Defense Ministry strategist Amos Gilad said in a speech that Hezbollah doesn’t have either chemical weapons or the advanced missiles. Israel intends to keep it that way, even at the cost of an Israeli bombing run against Syria’s weapon transfers.
[Israeli airforce photo courtesy Israel Defense Forces via Wikipedia Commons]