Jan 30, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from The Jerusalem Post: A western diplomat and three regional security sources said Wednesday that Israel Air Force warplanes struck a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight, hours after Lebanon reported a series of three overflights by Israel in its airspace.
Israel has expressed increasing concern over the fate of Syrian chemical and conventional weapons as the country slides further into chaos after almost two years of civil war.
The sources, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, had no further information about what might have been hit or where precisely the attack happened, but the news website Al-Monitor quoted unnamed sources as saying that the target had been an arms convoy in Syria, close to the Lebanon border.
A Western diplomat in the region who was asked about the strike said “something has happened”, without elaborating.
An unnamed security source told AFP: “The Israeli air force blew up a convoy which had just crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon.”
An activist in Syria who works with a network of opposition groups around the country said that she had heard of a strike in southern Syria from her colleagues but could not confirm.
The IDF has declined to comment on reports of a strike on the Syrian-Lebanese border. “We do not comment on reports of this kind,” an IDF spokeswoman said.
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom on Wednesday spoke to Israel Radio following reports that Israel Air Force warplanes struck a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight, hours after Lebanon reported a series of three overflights by Israel in its airspace.
“The entire world has said more than once that it takes developments in Syria very seriously, developments which can be in negative directions,” he told Israel Radio, recalling that President Barack Obama has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad of US action if his forces use chemical weapons.
Excerpted from Al Monitor: “The Israeli air force blew up a convoy which had just crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon,” an unnamed security source told Agence France Press.
A source in the region was told the alleged target was anti-aircraft missiles or a convoy of anti-aircraft missiles, but that could not be confirmed.
A Hezbollah spokesperson told Lebanon’s Daily Star he had no knowledge of the alleged Israeli strike, the paper reported.
Earlier Wednesday, a Lebanese army statement said a total of twelve Israeli planes had entered Lebanese air space in three waves overnight, beginning at 4:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, and leaving on Wednesday at 7:55 a.m (12:55 a.m. ET), Reuters reported.
Israeli media, circumscribed by military censorship, cited Lebanese and other foreign media reports on the developments, which came after days of intense and secretive security consultations in Israel and with foreign capitals.
IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi traveled to Washington for closed-door consultations with American officials Tuesday, Al-Monitor exclusively reported:Tuesday. Israeli officials would not comment on the focus of his consultations.
Among those Kochavi met at the Pentagon Tuesday was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, defense sources told Al-Monitor.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense and security advisors have “recently held a number of security assessments” focused on developments in Syria, and “the potential shift in the balance of power between the IDF and Hezbollah, in the event that the latter would get hold of Assad’s WMDs,” Ynet’s Ron Ben-Yishai reported Monday.
“Hezbollah has set up several bases in Syria, near known locations where Syrian President Bashar Assad is holding parts of his chemical warfare arsenal,” the Ynet report said.