Israel Bombs Syria, The airstrike that Israeli warplanes carried out in Syria was directed at a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that Israel believed was intended for Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese organization, American officials said Saturday.
It was the second time in four months that Israel had carried out an attack in foreign territory aimed at disrupting the pipeline of weapons from Iran to Hezbollah. The missiles, known as Fateh-110s, had been sent to Syria by Iran and were being stored at an airport in Damascus when they were struck in the attack, according to an American official.
Syrians with knowledge of security and military matters confirmed the strike, which took place overnight Thursday, saying that Iran had sent arms and rockets to Damascus International Airport intending to resend them to Hezbollah.
Israel officials have declined to publicly discuss the operation. But Israel has repeatedly said it is prepared to take military action to stop the shipment of advanced arms or chemical weapons to Hezbollah. If transferred to Hezbollah, the missiles would extend the organization’s ability to strike targets deep inside Israel.
Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have used Fateh-110 missiles against the Syrian opposition, and some American officials are unsure whether the new shipment was intended for use by Hezbollah or by the Assad government, which is believed to be running low on missiles in its bloody civil war with Syrian rebels, now in its third year.
But one American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing intelligence reports, said the warehouse that was struck in the Israeli attack was believed to be under the control of operatives from Hezbollah and Iran’s paramilitary Quds force.