Israel strikes Syria weapons depot to keep ‘game-changing’ arms away from Hizbullah

by WorldTribune Staff, January 10, 2018

The Syrian military reported that Israel, in a predawn attack on Jan. 9, struck a military base outside Damascus that analysts say is known to host Hizbullah’s advanced Scud missiles.

While he did not confirm the airstrike, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is prepared to take action to prevent advanced munitions from reaching the Hizbullah terrorist group.

Israel is said to have struck a Syrian military base near Damascus in the early morning hours of Jan. 9. / EPA

“We have a longstanding policy to prevent the transfer of game-changing weapons to Hizbullah in Syrian territory. This policy has not changed. We back it up, if necessary, with action,” Netanyahu said at an event with NATO officials in Jerusalem.

The Syrian military said that Israel conducted a series of three airstrikes on the base at al-Qutayfah, which is home to its 155th Artillery Regiment.

In a statement, the Syrian military reported that the strikes occurred over the course of several hours and were carried out by both aircraft and surface-to-surface missiles.

“Our air defenses responded to three Israeli missile attacks on military positions in the al-Qutayfah countryside,” official Syrian state media quoted military officials as saying.

Syrian military officials said the country’s air defenses intercepted three of the missiles and hit one of the Israeli aircraft. The claim could not be immediately confirmed.

According to Ronen Solomon, an Israeli freelance intelligence analyst who tracks Syria’s weapons development programs for his blog Intelli Times, the 155th Artillery Regiment operates Scud missile launchers and “has been known since 2010 as the regiment that hosts Hizbullah’s advanced Scud missile base.”

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said that Iran sends between $700 million and $1 billion to Hizbullah each year.

Yossi Cohen, the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, said the proliferation of accurate Iranian missiles is a “growing concern to the peace of the entire Middle East.”

Speaking at a Finance Ministry event in Jerusalem, Cohen said, “We hear the concerns from Sunni leaders about Iran are growing, just as they are in Israel. We are hearing it from everywhere.”

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