Israeli jets strike inside Syria in rare attack
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Israel conducted a rare air strike on a military target inside Syria near the border with Lebanon early on Jan. 30 amid fears President Bashar Assad’s regime could provide powerful weapons to Hezbollah.
Regional security officials said Israel had been planning in the days leading up to the air strike to hit a shipment of weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Among Israel’s chief fears is that Assad will pass chemical weapons or sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to the Islamic militant group.
The Syrian military confirmed the strike in a statement read aloud on Syrian state TV, but it said the jets bombed a military research center in the area of Jamraya, northwest of the capital, Damascus, about 10 miles from the border with Lebanon. The statement said the strike destroyed the center and a nearby building, killing two workers and wounding five others.
The Syrian army statement denied that the strike had targeted a convoy headed from Syria to Lebanon, instead portraying the strike as linked to the civil war pitting Assad’s forces against rebels seeking to push him from power. “This proves that Israel is the instigator, beneficiary and sometimes executor of the terrorist acts targeting Syria and its people,” the statement said.
The Israel Defense Forces declined to make an immediate comment, and the location of the hit was not confirmed by j.’s deadline. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the strike.
The military in Lebanon, which also shares a border with Israel, said that Israeli warplanes had sharply increased their activity over Lebanon in the week prior to the strike.
Earlier in the week, Israel moved an interceptor battery of its “Iron Dome” rocket defense system to Haifa. The IDF called that move “routine.” — ap
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