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WAR REPORT
Israel behind Syria strikes, hit Iran missiles: source
by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) May 05, 2013


Syria under regime and Israeli attack: rebels
Beirut (AFP) May 05, 2013 - Syria's rebel Free Syrian Army reacted cautiously on Sunday to reported Israeli air strikes near Damascus, saying their country was already under attack daily by regime war planes.

"Of course the Free Syrian Army and any Syrian is bothered that their country is being bombed, but Syria is being bombed every day by (President) Bashar al-Assad, and by Israel," FSA media and political coordinator Louay Muqdad told AFP.

He spoke after Syrian state media reported that Israeli rockets struck a military facility outside the capital Damascus overnight, the second reported attack by the Jewish state inside Syria this week.

"We wonder why there are so many missiles and military installations around Damascus when they should be close to the ceasefire line with Israel on the Golan Heights," he added.

"For us, the operations that we carry out every day are not related to Israeli attacks or anything else, and we will continue to fight until the fall of Assad," he said.

Israel has reportedly carried out at least three air strikes on Syrian sites, apparently targeting weapons destined for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is allied with the Syrian regime.

Israel carried out a pre-dawn air strike near Damascus on Sunday, targeting Iranian missiles destined for Lebanon's Hezbollah in the second such raid on Syrian soil in three days, a senior Israeli source said.

"The target was Iranian missiles which were destined for Hezbollah," he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The attack targeted a facility just northwest of the Syrian capital, very close to the site of a similar attack late January which was implicitly confirmed by Israel, the source said.

He also confirmed Israel was behind an earlier strike on a target very close to Damascus airport which took place early on Friday, which also struck Iranian arms destined for the Lebanese Shiite movement.

"Any time Israel learns about the transfer of weapons from Syria to Lebanon, it will attack," he warned.

According to Syria's official SANA news agency, Sunday morning's attack targeted the Jamraya military research centre near Damascus, in the Eastern Ghouta region.

Following the strike, the Israeli air force went on high alert, although the Jewish state was not anticipating a significant response from Damascus, the source said.

"The air force is now on high alert, the highest in recent years," he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to leave later on Sunday for a five-day visit to China, and the fact that he had not cancelled the trip suggested Israel was not expecting a major response from Syria, he added.

The official Syrian news agency SANA accused Israel of being behind the attack as a show of support for the rebel forces fighting a two-year insurgency against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"This new Israeli aggression is a clear attempt to alleviate the pressure on the armed terrorist groups after our army beat them back in several regions and after the army's victories on the road to recovering security and stability in Syria," said SANA.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said residents reported seeing aircraft when powerful blasts rocked the area, indicating the strike had caused casualties.

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