Israel hints it carried out attack on Syria


Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak has strongly hinted that Israel was behind last week’s air strikes against Syria, saying the action was “another proof that when we say something we mean it”.

Addressing a security conference in Munich, he predicted the fall of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was imminent, and such a development would be a major blow to Iran and Hizbullah.

He reiterated Israel’s position that advanced weapon systems should not be allowed to reach Hizbullah in Lebanon from Syria.

Another top Israeli official also hinted that Israel carried out the attack.

‘Right decision’

Former national security adviser Maj Gen Giora Eiland praised the Israeli government’s decision to carry out the strikes, saying it was “the right decision, despite all the risks”.

He said a red line has existed for years, an almost “silent agreement” between Syria and Israel.

Under this agreement, no anti-aircraft missiles or chemical weapons would be transferred from Syria to Hizbullah. Israel has refused to confirm officially that it was behind the air strikes overnight on Tuesday that destroyed a military research centre , allegedly storing components for biological and chemical weapons, and a weapons convoy destined for Hizbullah.

Attempt to destabilise

Mr Assad accused Israel of trying to destabilise Syria by attacking the centre outside Damascus last week, and said Syria was able to confront “current threats . . . and aggression” against it.

Iran’s deputy chairman of armed forces, Chief of Staff Brig Gen Masoud Jazayeri, warned that a harsh Syrian response was coming.

“Syria’s response to the recent aggression of the Zionist regime will send this regime into a coma.”

Damascus has protested to the United Nations, saying it considered the raid a violation of a 1974 military disengagement agreement which followed the last major Israeli-Syrian war.