Morning Brief: Israel bombs arms shipment inside Syria

From Foreign Policy Thu Jan 31 2013, 08:27:05

Israel bombs arms shipment inside Syria

Top news: Israeli warplanes bombed a convoy of trucks near the Syrian border with Lebanon on Wednesday, apparently targeting a shipment of Russian-made SA-17 missiles being trafficked to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. The attack, which marked the first time since 2007 that Israel has carried out a raid inside Syria, prompted harsh condemnation from embattled President Bashar al-Assad, but no immediate retaliation.

Israel did not confirm the strikes, but on Sunday it deployed the Iron Dome missile defense system near Haifa, which saw heavy bombing during the 2006 war with Hezbollah. Earlier this week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials held a series of security meetings, and warned that the transfer of chemical weapons to Hezbollah could necessitate a preemptive strike.

The attack highlights Israel's increasing concern that Hezbollah will take advantage of the chaos in Syria to arm itself against the Jewish state. For its part, the Shiite militant organization condemned the strike and expressed "full solidarity with Syria's command, army, and people."

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