Israeli Jets said to have Struck Target near Syria Border
The Lebanese Army reported the heavy presence of Israeli jets over its airspace on Wednesday, as sources said Israeli Air Force jets had struck a target, alleged to be a weapons convoy, near Syria’s border with Lebanon overnight.
“There was definitely a hit in the border area,” a western diplomat told Reuters.
“The Israeli air force blew up a convoy which had just crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon,” one unnamed security source told Agence France Press.
Israeli officials would not confirm or comment on the reports.
A Lebanese army statement said a total of twelve Israeli planes had entered Lebanese air space in three waves over the past 12 hours, beginning at 4:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, and ending on Wednesday at 7:55 a.m (12:55 a.m. ET), Reuters reported.
Israeli media, circumscribed by military censorship, cited Lebanese and other foreign media reports on the developments, which came after days of intense and secretive security consultations in Israel and with foreign capitals.
IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi traveled to Washington for closed-door consultations with American officials Tuesday, Al-Monitor exclusively reported:Tuesday. Israeli officials would not comment on the focus of his consultations.
Among those Kochavi met at the Pentagon Tuesday was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, defense sources told Al-Monitor.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense and security advisors have “recently held a number of security assessments” focused on developments in Syria, and “the potential shift in the balance of power between the IDF and Hezbollah, in the event that the latter would get hold of Assad’s WMDs,” Ynet’s Ron Ben-Yishai reported Monday.
“Hezbollah has set up several bases in Syria, near known locations where Syrian President Bashar Assad is holding parts of his chemical warfare arsenal,” the Ynet report said.
Netanyahu spoke by phone with President Obama on Monday, following a meeting Sunday with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. Netanyahu also dispatched his National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror to Moscow, reportedly to seek Russian help in averting various Syrian contingencies. On Sunday, Israel deployed two Iron Dome batteries in northern Israel, including Haifa.
Israel does not comment on the working visits of IDF officers, an IDF spokeswoman told Al-Monitor Tuesday.
“Some people say [the] IDF wouldn’t object to [the] opportunity to set [the] record straight vis-a-vis Hizballah,” an Israeli official, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor Wednesday, in response to queries about rumored IDF action. “Also, [the] idea of putting them out of play, as done with Hamas recently.”