US says Israel hit Syrian targets in airstrike last week

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Officials with the United States Department of Defense have stated that Israeli fighter planes struck at least one target inside Syria a week ago. On September 7, Syrian fighter planes fired upon Israeli jets that were allegedly "dropping ammunition" in the northeastern part of Syria.

The actual target, or the extent of the damage has yet to be determined, but U.S. officials say a weapons storage facility was the likely target. The Israeli government believes that Iran is sending weapons through Syria to Lebanon to arm the militant group Hezbollah. Israel also thinks that those weapons are coming from North Korea.

"It wasn't big. It was a quick strike. They were engaged by the Syrians, they dropped their ordinance and scooted out of there. The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left," said an unnamed Defense Department official who also said that Israeli planes are taking photographs of possible targets and nuclear power facilities inside Syria.

Syrian officials believe that the ammunition was dropped in order to make the Israeli planes go faster so that they may escape.

"They were fleeing and in order to speed up the planes they dropped the munitions. Israel is seeking military escalation. We are exerting efforts so that we don't fall into this trap," said Bashar Jaafari, Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations.

Israel has not confirmed or denied the reports, simply stating "we cannot discuss military operations."