Report: Israeli submarine strike hit Syrian arms depot

Sunday Times contradicts a CNN report claiming that the Israeli air force bombed the depot; attack said to be coordinated with the US.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 14, 2013 09:20
1 minute read.
A Dolphin-class submarine docks in Haifa port.

Dolphin submarine 311. (photo credit: reuters)

 
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Israeli Dolphin-class submarines carried out a July 5 attack on an arms depot in the Syrian port city of Latakia, according to a report in the British Sunday Times, which contradicted a previous CNN report that the attack was the work of the Israel Air Force.

The alleged Israeli naval strike was closely coordinated with the United States and targeted a contingent of 50 Russian-made Yakhont P-800 anti-ship missiles that had arrived earlier in the year for Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, the Times cited Middle East intelligence sources as stating.

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According to the report, the Israeli fleet of German-built submarines launched a cruise missile at the weapons cache after which Syrian rebels reportedly attested to hearing early-morning explosions at a Syrian port-side naval barracks.

On Friday, anonymous US officials told CNN that Israel had carried out an air strike on the Syrian city.

Three unnamed US officials told CNN the IAF had targeted Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles that could pose a threat to Israel.

Qassem Saadeddine, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, said the pre-dawn attack hit Syrian Navy barracks at Safira, near the port of Latakia. The rebel forces’ intelligence network had identified newly supplied Yakhont missiles being stored there, he said.

“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 long-range missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean.”

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A loud explosion was heard near Latakia on Wednesday, an opposition monitoring group said, but the cause of the blast was unclear.

Explosions in Latakia, part of Assad's stronghold on the Mediterranean coast, have been extremely rare during Syria's two-year-old conflict.

Reuters and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

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