A US official source Thursday night, Oct. 31, confirmed reports run all day by Arab media, especially Al Arabiya TV, that shortly before Wednesday midnight, the Israeli Air Force attacked a missile consignment in Latakia in western Syria to prevent its reaching Hizballah hands.
According to Arab sources, they were Russian-made SA-8 Gecko Dgreen mobile missiles. Other foreign sources said Israel had struck two targets in Syria – one in Latakia and the other in Damascus.
The first was a former agricultural school converted a year ago to a missile defense missile base. A small SA-8 shipment was transferred by the Syrians or Iranians to this base ready for transfer by sea to the Hizballah.
The same sources report that in Damascus, Israeli warplanes attacked Syrian military installations on the outskirts of the Jaramana neighborhood where another SA-8 consignment was held ready for transfer to Hizballah. This neighborhood is inhabited by pro-Assad Christian and Druze citizens.
Israeli spokesmen declined to comment on these attacks all day Thursday. However, debkafile’s military sources disclose that the US media reports of Israeli Air Force attacks in Syria that quoted US officials aroused indignation in government circles in Jerusalem and military headquarters in Tel Aviv.
They accused the Obama government of leaking this information in breach of the understandings and agreements reached between Israel and the White House on Syria. It was clearly understood that the two governments would cooperate in the effort to prevent advanced weapons reaching the Hizballah terrorist organization in Lebanon from Syria.
debkafile’s Washington sources explained that because the administration is immersed in a complicated joint diplomatic maneuver with Moscow on Syria, it can’t afford to leave the impression of US involvement in the Israeli attack or its approval..
A senior US official stressed that the leak was aimed at absolving the administration of such involvement. Washington also suspected Israel of timing its attacks to follow straight after the OPCW’s announcement earlier Thursday that Syria's “declared equipment for producing, mixing and filling chemical weapons” had been entirely destroyed by the Nov. 1 deadline set by the two powers and the UN.