Israel Targeted Iranian Missiles in Syria Attack

(New York Times) Anne Barnard, Michael R. Gordon and Jodi Rudoren - A series of powerful explosions rocked the outskirts of Damascus early Sunday, which Syrian state television said was the result of Israeli missile attacks on a Syrian military installation, the second Israeli airstrike in Syria in two days. The airstrike that Israel carried out in Syria on Thursday was directed at a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that Israel believed was intended for Hizbullah, American officials said Saturday. As fighting in Syria escalates, both Iran and Hizbullah have a powerful interest in expediting the delivery of advanced weapons to Hizbullah. The Iranian missiles were being stored in a warehouse at Damascus International Airport when they were struck, according to an American official. Israel has repeatedly cautioned that it will not allow Hizbullah to receive "game changing" weapons that could threaten the Israeli heartland. "The Israelis are saying, 'O.K., whichever way the civil war is going, we are going to keep our red lines, which are different from Obama's,'" said Ehud Yaari, a fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. An American official said the targeted shipment consisted of Iranian-made Fateh-110s - a mobile, accurate, solid-fueled missile that has the range to strike Tel Aviv. Two prominent Israeli defense analysts said the shipment included Scud Ds with a range long enough to reach Eilat. An American official said the warehouse struck Thursday was believed to be under the control of Hizbullah and Iran's Quds Force. President Obama said, "The Israelis, justifiably, have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hizbullah."

2013-05-06 00:00:00

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