Israel attacks Syria, awaits possible reprisal

Sunday, May 05, 2013 |  Israel Today Staff

Israel was on high alert Sunday morning after reportedly striking targets in neighboring Syria twice over the weekend.

According to Israeli and foreign media outlets, Israeli aircraft bombed a military research outside Damascus late Saturday night. That was likely part of Israel's ongoing effort to prevent Syria's enormous stockpile of chemical weapons from falling into the hands of Hezbollah or hostile rebel groups.

Early Sunday morning, Israel again reportedly struck, this time targeting a convoy trying to transfer long-range missiles to Hezbollah, an ally of the embattled regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

While Israel offered no official response to the reports, unnamed officials told various media outlets that the Jewish state was behing the bombings. Syrian media accused rebel groups of helping Israel identify its targets.

Former IDF chief and defense minister, Sha'ul Mofaz, said Israel must do everything in its power to prevent Hezbollah from becoming any stronger as a result of the chaos in Syria. Mofaz also noted that the weekend aerial assault had sent a clear message to Iran, which continues its defiant march to attain nuclear weapons.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delayed by two hours his departure for an official visit to China in order to convene an emergency security cabinet meeting. Meanwhile, the Israeli army hastily deployed two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to the north in anticipation of retaliatory action either by Hezbollah or Syria.

US President Barack Obama declined to confirm what Israel itself has not, but did say that his government "continues to believe that the Israelis justifiably have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah."

Waleed Abdul Malik, a Syrian-American researcher living in the US, wrote on his Twitter account that "most Arabs are cheering for Israel now. Any strike on Assad or Hezbollah by Israel is welcomed with cheers."

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