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Second Israeli strike on Syria targets missile shipment for Hezbollah: report


08:39, May 06, 2013

JERUSALEM, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Israel allegedly targeted a military facility near Damascus overnight that housed an Iranian missile shipment for Hezbollah, Israeli media outlets reported Sunday, citing Syrian state television, U.S. officials and intelligence sources.

Israel kept mum on the reports, but Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity with two foreign media outlets, confirmed early Saturday that Israeli jets struck a shipment of missiles destined for Hezbollah, though they did not say where it took place.

Aircraft fired rockets that struck a military research facility located north of Damascus, with powerful blasts sending plumes of smoke into the sky, Syrian television reported, accusing Israel of carrying out the attack.

The overnight strike came 48 hours after Israeli aircraft early on Friday allegedly struck a consignment of Iranian missiles bound for Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas, Syrian television said.

The target of the overnight attack was reportedly the Jamraya military research center on Mount Qassioun, north of Damascus, a site that Israel is said to have already struck in late January, Israeli daily Ha'aretz said, quoting Syrian TV.

Ha'aretz also quoted western intelligence sources as saying that both strikes in the past 48 hours targeted Iranian shipments of advanced Fateh-110 missiles en route to Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.

"The strikes targeted stores of Fateh-110 missiles that were intended for Hezbollah," NBC quoted a senior U.S. official as saying.

But Israel has declined to officially comment on the latest strike.

"No comment," a military spokeswoman in Tel Aviv told Xinhua.

On Saturday morning, foreign media reports quoted anonymous Israeli officials as confirming that Israeli jets early Friday struck a shipment of advanced missiles bound for Hezbollah.

Amos Gilad, who heads the diplomatic-security bureau of the Defense Ministry, however, denied the confirmations, saying that anonymous sources do not constitute an official Israeli confirmation.

Israel has repeatedly vowed to prevent advanced Syrian weapons, including chemical weapons, from being transferred to Hezbollah and jihadi-affiliated rebels fighting the Assad administration.

The Fateh-110 is an advanced medium-range, surface-to-surface missile capable of striking targets in central Israel, and is considered a "tie-breaking" weapon that could severely threaten the country's urban centers.

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