Hezbollah convoy in Syria destroyed by Israeli airstrike


An Israeli airstrike destroyed a convoy in Syrian allegedly carrying weapons bound for the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.


Jack Guez

An Israeli airstrike destroyed a convoy in Syria allegedly carrying weapons to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah Friday, Israel officials claimed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet approved the attack at a secret meeting Thursday night.

The airstrike was conducted in Syria with Israeli warplanes flying through and firing missiles from Lebanese airspace, which Israel considers militarily and diplomatically safer than Syrian air space. 

"It seems that at least over this weekend, Israel and Lebanon are acting more cooperatively than is usually the case between two countries in a state of war," points out GlobalPost's correspondent in Israel Noga Tarnopolsky. 

Initial reports claimed that the strike had hit a building in Syria but later reports say it was a convoy.

Lebanese authorities told reporters there was an increase in Israeli activity over their airspace Friday.

"Despite all the bombastic headlines, it is important to remember that Israel is keeping completely mum on the subject of this recent raid," reports GlobalPost's correspondent in Israel.

"There have been air force jets in the skies above Jerusalem for at least three days straight, including as I write this now," Tarnopolsky reported from Jerusalem Saturday afternoon. "Ironically, I'm hearing from people on the Golan Heights that everything is utterly tranquil there." 

More from GlobalPost: Israel may be operating in Syria

"We believe that [the strike] is linked to Israel's concerns over the transfer of weapons, particularly chemical weapons, from Syria to its allies Lebanon," an unnamed Lebanese official told reporters.

"Our information indicates there was an Israeli strike on a convoy that was transferring missiles to Hezbollah. We have still not confirmed the location," Qassim Saadedine, a commander and spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army told Reuters.

Israel has said that it will not tolerate weapons transfers between Syria and the Lebanese militant group, particularly heavy weapons.

An Israeli official said Saturday, however, that Hezbollah was not looking acquire chemical weapons.

"Hezbollah does not have chemical weaponry. We have ways of knowing. They are not keen to take weaponry like this, preferring systems that can cover all of the country (Israel)," said defense strategist Amos Gilad.

Tension about Syria has been palpable and growing in recent weeks in Jerusalem, according to Tarnopolsky.

"Increasingly, Israeli officials are expressing the grim estimation that there are no good outcomes to the Syrian civil war. Israeli officials are increasingly wary of the chaos in Syria, as they are of the growing influence among the rebels of extremist Islamic elements," GlobalPost's Noga Tarnopolsky reports.  



[View the story "Israel's airstrike in Syria brings condemnation, support" on Storify]