Israel Launches Second Strike Against Syrian Targets
Once again, the Israeli Air Force has hit targets inside Syria:
(Reuters) – Israel carried out its second air strike in days on Syria early on Sunday, a Western intelligence source said, in an attack that shook Damascus with a series of powerful blasts and drove columns of fire into the night sky.
Israel declined comment but Syria accused the Jewish state of striking a military facility just north of the capital – one which its jets had first targeted three months ago. Iran, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an arch-enemy for Israel, urged states in the region to resist the Israeli attack.
People living near the Jamraya base spoke of explosions over several hours in various places near Damascus, including a town housing senior officials: “Night turned into day,” one man said.
The Western intelligence source told Reuters the operation hit Iranian-supplied missiles headed for Lebanon’s Hezbollah, a similar target to the two previous strikes this year, which have been defended as justifiable by Israel’s ally the United States:
“In last night’s attack, as in the previous one, what was attacked were stores of Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to Hezbollah,” the intelligence source said.
An Israeli official had confirmed a similar raid on Friday. In Lebanon, Hezbollah declined immediate comment.
Video footage uploaded onto the Internet by activists showed a series of explosions. One lit up the skyline of Damascus while another sent up a tower of flames and secondary blasts.
Syrian state media accused Israel of attacking in response to Assad’s forces’ recent successes against rebels who, with Western approval, have been trying to topple him for two years.
In 40 years since a war with a Syria then ruled by Assad’s father, Israel has been locked in a cold standoff with Damascus, fought Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and is threatening to attack Iran, accusing Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons.
But it is wary of instability in Syria, has long viewed Hezbollah as the more immediate threat and has shown little enthusiasm for U.S. and European calls for Assad’s overthrow.
In other words, Israel is operating under it’s own agenda here. And the implications of that remain unclear.