Israeli Defense Minister Comments on Syria Strike

Israeli Defense Minister Comments on Syria Strike

Tags: israeli, airstrike, syrian, israel, lebanon, weapons, security, aircraft, lebanese, hezbollah

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has made his country's first public comments about an airstrike in Syria, without directly confirming Israel was responsible for the operation.

U.S. and regional security sources have said Israeli aircraft hit a Syrian convoy Wednesday heading toward Lebanon and transporting anti-aircraft weapons, likely intended for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Barak said Sunday at the Munich Security Conference the airstrike was "proof that when we say something, we mean it. We say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon." Referring to the airstrike, Barak only said he could not add anything to what has appeared in newspapers.

Syrian state media have given a different account of the airstrike, saying it targeted the Jamraya military research facility outside Damascus.

Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karin Ali has said Damascus has the "option" of carrying out a "surprise" response to the alleged Israeli attack. He did not elaborate his remarks to Lebanese website Al-Ahad.

Syrian government allies Iran, Russia and Hezbollah have also condemned Israel.

In recent days, Israeli officials have warned that Hezbollah's acquisition of surface-to-air missiles from Syria would be a "game changer."

Israeli lawmaker Tzahi Hanegbi said Thursday that Israel's preference is for Western powers to control those weapons. But he said the international community is not prepared to take such action, leaving Israel in a "dilemma" that only it knows how to resolve.

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2/13/2013 2:04:57 PM