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Report: Israeli strikes in Syria hit multiple sites
By JPOST.COM STAFF
02/02/2013
'Time' quotes Western officials as saying IAF jets hit several targets in Syria, US has given Israel green light to carry out more raids.
 
IAF raids overnight Tuesday struck multiple targets in Syria, Time magazine reported on Friday, citing Western intelligence officials.

Syria on Wednesday publicly accused Israel of striking a scientific research center northwest of Damascus, denying reports that the strike had targeted a suspected shipment of anti-aircraft missiles en route to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The description of the military research center that Syria claimed the IAF jets targeted fits the definition of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, which has been labeled a state organization responsible for developing biological and chemical weapons and transferring them to Hezbollah and Hamas.

Time quoted a Western intelligence official as saying that the IAF had targeted at least one or two more targets overnight Tuesday and that the US has given Israel a green light to carry out additional strikes.

According to the Time report, Israel is not only concerned about unconventional weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon, but that Jerusalem and Washington are also concerned with weapons falling into the hands of terrorist elements among the Syrian opposition forces, many of them linked to al-Qaida.

Time quoted one Western intelligence official as saying the US was prepared to carry out similar airstrikes in the Aleppo area if opposition forces threaten to take hold of sites believed to contain weapons of mass destruction in the region.

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told AFP on Friday that Washington was growing increasingly concerned that, as the situation in Syria deteriorates, the likelihood that weapons could fall into the hands of Hezbollah terrorists was growing.

"The chaos in Syria has obviously created an environment where the possibility of these weapons, you know, going across the border and falling into the hands of Hezbollah has become a greater concern," Panetta stated.

Panetta did not confirm the details of the alleged Israeli strike in Syria, but he stated that "the United States supports whatever steps are taken to make sure these weapons don't fall into the hands of terrorists."

He added: "Without discussing the communications that we have on a regular basis with Israel or the specifics of that operation, because that's something they know more about, we have expressed the concern that we have to do everything we can to make sure that sophisticated weapons like SA-17 [anti-aircraft] missiles or, for that matter chemical biological weapons, do not fall into the hands of terrorists," he said.
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