Syrian rebels hint Israel behind attack on missile cache
ByBen Hartman, REUTERS
09 July 2013 16:59
Defense minister Moshe Ya'alon denies Israeli ties to Latakia explosion, says Israel is sticking with established red lines.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu talks to Golani officer in the field during exercise, June 26.

Netanyahu and Ya'alon at Golani drill 370. (photo credit:Koby Gideon/GPO)

Israel is not involving itself in the Syrian civil war and is typically the target for blame following military strikes in the region, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) said Tuesday.

In an apparent reference to the strike that killed between 10 and 20 Syrian soldiers at an arms depot in Latakia over the weekend, Ya’alon maintained: “For a long time we have continued to say that we are not involving ourselves in the bloody civil war in Syria. We have established our red lines and we are sticking to them.”



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“When there is an attack or explosion of some sort or another in the Middle East, usually no matter what we are blamed,” Ya’alon said during a visit to Tze’elim base on Tuesday, specifying that Israel is not involving itself in the civil war in Syria.

“The Syrian civil war has also spread into Lebanon for some time. Hezbollah has joined the fighting in Syria, and we see inside Lebanon – in Tripoli, Sidon and also in Beirut – reports like those today, of car bombs. This is largely a struggle between the Shi’ites and Sunnis... we are not involved in this.”

On Tuesday, Syrian rebels said foreign forces destroyed advanced Russian anti-ship missiles. Qassem Saadeddine, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army's Supreme Military Council, said a pre-dawn strike on Friday hit a Syrian navy barracks at Safira, near the port of Latakia. He said that the rebel forces’ intelligence network had identified newly supplied Yakhont missiles being stored there.

“It was not the FSA that targeted this,” Saadeddine told Reuters. “It is not an attack that was carried out by rebels. This attack was either by air raid or longrange missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean.”

Of the ongoing fighting between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and opponents, Ya’alon said the turmoil shows “the chronic instability of the Middle East.” Israel is also not involving itself in the political struggles in Egypt, he continued, but is following events in order to protect its interests – in particular the peace treaty with Cairo and the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula.

In regard to reports of loud explosions in Eilat last Thursday, Ya’alon said: “We still have no idea what happened in Eilat, only that a lot of people, including military people, heard two explosions but nothing has yet been found.”

He also said that Israel will not allow the Iranian nuclear program to continue, and that through diplomatic means, sanctions or other methods, the program will be stopped.
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