Report: Israel notified U.S. about attack on Syria

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel notified the United States about its attack on a Syrian target, U.S. officials told the New York Times.

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The newspaper on Thursday cited unnamed American officials as saying they believed the target of Tuesday’s attack to be a convoy carrying sophisticated Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.

Syria said late Wednesday in a statement carried on the official Sana news agency that the target was a military research center near Damascus. The report said the attack killed two workers.

“The Syrian government points out to the international community that this Israeli arrogance and aggression is dangerous for Syrian sovereignty and stresses that such criminal acts will not weaken Syria’s role nor will discourage Syrians from continuing to support resistance movements and just Arab causes, particularly the Palestinian issue,” the statement reportedly said. 

A U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal that reports of an attack on a convoy and a research facility were not mutually exclusive. 

Iran threatened to retaliate against Israel for its alleged attack on Syria. The Iranian Fars news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Thursday as saying the raid on Syria will have significant implications for the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, according to reports.

Syria also threatened revenge. “Israel, the Americans and the Arab regimes that have conspired together know that Syria will defend its sovereignty and its land. The Zionist aggression exposes Israel’s part in the war against Syria,” said Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karim Ali, who added that his country has “the option and the surprise to retaliate.”
The Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces have not commented on reports of an Israeli attack on Syrian targets.

News of an attack came days after Israel’s Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom confirmed that Israel could launch a military strike on Syria if it appeared that Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas or Syrian rebels had taken possession of Syrian chemical weapons.

Shalom confirmed to Army Radio that Netanyahu met last week on Election Day with the country’s security chiefs to discuss the situation in Syria.

Meanwhile, Israelis have stormed gas-mask distribution centers in recent days following the escalations on the northern border.

The Lebanese army earlier this week accused Israel’s Air Force of violating Lebanon’s airspace several times on Jan. 26.

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