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MIDEAST > Israeli raid hit Syrian missiles, buildings: US official

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse

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An Israeli air raid in Syria this week struck surface-to-air missiles and a nearby military complex on the outskirts of Damascus, as Israel feared the weapons would be transferred to Hezbollah, a US official said Friday.

Earlier reports had suggested Israeli warplanes may have targeted two separate locations in Wednesday's raid in Syria: a military site outside of the capital and a weapons convoy near the Lebanese border.

But the US official said the strike was confined to one location.

"It was in the suburbs of Damascus," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
"There were surface-to-air missiles on vehicles" that were targeted by the Israel aircraft, he said, adding that they were believed to be Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles.

The planes also bombed an adjacent military complex of buildings suspected of housing chemical agents, the official said.

The Israelis suspected the weapons would be transferred to Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group, he said.

The Syrian regime has accused Israel of launching a dawn strike Wednesday on a military research center in Jamraya, near Damascus, and threatened to retaliate.

But the Israeli government has maintained a public silence on the strike.

Israel has repeatedly expressed concern that Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group, which is an ally of the Damascus regime, or other militant organisations.

February/02/2013

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