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Israel bombs Russian arms shipment in Lebanon

January 30, 2013
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Source: The Atlantic Wire, Alexander Abad-Santos

Update, 2:47 p.m.: Syrian state TV is reporting that the Israeli warplanes bombed a military research center. "State TV says the strike targeted a military research center in the area of Jermana. It says the strike caused material damage and the center was used to advance Syrian military capabilities," reports the AP. U.S. officials have confirmed a strike took place, but so far have not said when — or what, exactly, was bombed.

Update, 12:43 p.m.: The Israeli attack and the target of the attack have been confirmed by a U.S. defense official, and yes, it appears Israel was aiming for a weapons convoy. " Israel conducted an airstrike inside Syria overnight near the border with Lebanon, hitting a convoy of trucks," reports the AP, gleaning information from U.S. defense officials. The AP adds:

The regional officials said Israel had been planning in the days leading up to the airstrike to hit a shipment of weapons bound for the Islamist militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon. They said the shipment included sophisticated, Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which would be strategically "game-changing" in the hands of Hezbollah.

Original post: Israeli forces attacked a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight, reports Reuters, possibly out of concern that the Syria civil war is spilling over onto its neighbors. "The sources, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, had no further information about what might have been hit or where precisely the attack happened," reads the Reuters report. According to Al Monitor's Laura Rozen, the target was an alleged weapons convoy. Israel's Haaretz newspaper hasn't confirmed the attack, but they are reporting that the Lebanon says that Israeli Air Force jets breached Lebanese air space.

The attack comes one day after Israeli defense sources told Reuters's Dan Williams they were concerned that Syrian weapons, both chemical and conventional, might fall into hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Williams wrote:

Israeli officials have also voiced concern about Syria's advanced Russian-supplied weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. Israel fears that should such weapons fall into the hands of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon, this could dent the Jewish state's superiority in any future confrontation.

Just this past Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced the same concerns—that there would be a risk of chemical weapons landing into Hezbollah's hands, hinting at the need for an Israeli intervention. A spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces would not comment on the attack.

Source: RT.com



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