30 January 2013, 23:30

Israeli warplanes bombed military site near Damascus - Syrian state news agency

Israeli warplanes bombed military site near Damascus - Syrian state news agency

Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in Damascus province at dawn on Wednesday, Syria's military command said, denying reports that the planes had struck a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon.

According to the agency, at dawn on January 30, Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace, with the jets bombing an army research center in the area of Jamraya, northwest of the capital which it described as one of a number of "scientific research centers aimed at raising the level of resistance and self-defense".

Two people were killed and five wounded. 

"Israeli military aircraft violated our airspace at dawn and carried out precision attacks targeting the scientific research facility," – the agency quotes a statement of the supreme command of the Syrian armed forces.

The building was destroyed, the military command said in a statement carried by state media. Earlier, the center was targeted by armed opposition groups.

It said the planes crossed into Syria below the radar level, just north of Mount Hermon, and returned the same way.

Sources told Reuters earlier that Israeli jets had bombed a convoy on Syria's border with Lebanon on Wednesday, apparently targeting weapons destined for Hezbollah.

The air attack carried out by Israel on a Syrian target has been confirmed by the United States. According to Washington, the strike did not target the research institute, but a convoy of trucks, allegedly carrying weapons.

Tel Aviv fears that Damascus may hand over chemical weapons or sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to the Islamist movement Hezbollah.

On the same day it became known that citizens of the Jewish state were stocking up on gas masks. The demand for them tripled at the end of January. Many Israelis believe that their country could face an assault with Syrian chemical weapons, RBC reports. 

Voice of Russia, Reuters, RBC

Lebanese media deny Israeli air strike

Lebanon’s state-run Al-Watania news agency hasn’t confirmed an Israeli air strike close to the Syrian border. An unnamed Lebanese source earlier told Western media that Israeli air force had attacked an armed convoy that had crossed into Lebanon.

Reports of the raid came during the small hours, the source was cited as saying. No further details were immediately known.

A spokesman of Israel’s northern military district refused to comment.

Israel hits convoy on Syria-Lebanon border - security sources

Israel forces carried out a strike overnight on a weapons convoy coming from Syria in the Lebanon-Syria border area, security sources told reporters on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"The Israeli air force blew up a convoy which had just crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon," one source said, without giving a precise location for the attack or saying what the convoy was carrying.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Israel fighter jets hit targets on Lebanese-Syrian border

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.

Several squads of Israeli air force jets violated Lebanese airspace at 2 a.m. local time Wednesday, the Lebanese army reported in a statement earlier on Wednesday. It said four warplanes flew over the southernmost coastal town of Naqoura, hovered for several hours over villages in southern Lebanon before leaving the country's airspace.

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.

The Israel Defense Forces refused to confirm or deny the report. "We do not comment on reports of this kind,"an IDF spokeswoman said.

Lebanon reports heavy presence of Israeli jets in its airspace

Lebanon said on Wednesday Israeli jets had flown over its territory overnight, part of apparently increased air activity which comes as Israel has expressed concern about weapons in neighbouring Syria falling out of government control.

A Lebanese army statement said that four Israeli planes entered Lebanese air space at 4.30 p.m (1430GMT) on Tuesday. They were replaced four hours later by another group of planes which overflewsouthern Lebanon until 2 a.m and a third mission took over, finally leaving at 7.55 a.m on Wednesday morning.

Lebanon frequently complains that Israeli jets overfly its territory. However the recent activity was much more concentrated than usual.

There was no explanation for the operations in the region, bordering southern Syria. The statement made no mention of planes entering Syrian airspace.

Israel's vice premier Silvan Shalom said on Sunday that any sign that Syria's grip on its chemical weapons is slipping, as President Bashar al-Assad fights rebels trying to overthrow him, could trigger Israeli military strikes.

Voice of Russia, TASS, AFP, RIA, Reuters, RT

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