Israeli forces have attacked a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight, a western diplomat and a security source said on Wednesday, at a time of growing concern in the Jewish state over the fate of Syrian chemical and conventional weapons.
The sources, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, had no further information about what might have been hit or where precisely the attack happened.
Earlier, the Lebanese army reported a heavy presence of Israeli jets over its territory throughout the night.
“There was definitely a hit in the border area,” the source said.
Israel‘s vice premier Silvan Shalom said on Sunday that any sign that Syria‘s grip on its chemical weapons was slipping, as President Bashar al-Assad fights rebels trying to overthrow him, could trigger Israeli intervention.
Israeli sources said on Tuesday that Syria‘s advanced conventional weapons would represent as much of a threat to Israel as its chemical arms should they fall into the hands of Syrian rebel forces or Hezbollah guerrillas based in Lebanon.
In Jerusalem, the Israeli military declined any comment.
“We do not comment on reports of this kind,” an Israeli Defense Force spokeswoman said.
Israelis Order Gas Masks as Syria Deteriorates
The number of Israelis ordering gas masks has more than doubled in recent days, the Post Office reports. The increase comes in the wake of warnings from experts that Syria’s chemical weapons could fall into Hizbullah’s hands.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the defense establishment is following the latest target=”_blank”>deterioration in stability in Syria with concern. In particular, it is monitoring Syria‘s target=”_blank”>chemical weapons, he said.
“We must look at our surroundings, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies, what is happening on other fronts, with the deadly weapons in Syria… The Middle East is not waiting for the outcome of the elections and does not pause while the government is assembled,” Netanyahu told the Cabinet this week.
Since his statements were publicized 4,000 gas masks have been distributed, compared to an average of 1,400 per week. In total, 4.7 million gas masks have been distributed. The total population of Israel is target=”_blank”>nearly 8 million.
One of the target=”_blank”>latest battlegrounds in Syria is the village of As-Safira, which is home to one of at least five chemical weapons storage facilities.