MOSCOW, July 14 (RIA Novosti) – Speaking on American television on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu evaded a direct response when asked whether his country was involved in a recent airstrike in Syria that reportedly targeted Russian missiles sold to the Syrian government, an ally of longtime Israeli enemy Hezbollah.
However, Netanyahu said, Israel's policy "is to prevent the transfer of dangerous weapons to Hezbollah and other terror groups," according to a transcript of the CBS-TV show, "Face the Nation," that was obtained by The Associated Press.
Netanyahu refused to confirm or deny Israeli involvement in the July 5 airstrike, news of which was leaked to The New York Times on Saturday by US officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were citing intelligence reports.
According to those officials, Israel carried out the airstrike to destroy Russian Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles at Syria’s principal port city, Latakia. The missiles allegedly compromised Western powers’ ability to provide weapons and other supplies to the Syrian rebels, as well as impose a blockade or no-fly zone.
Israel was reportedly concerned that such missiles could also be provided to Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia that is fighting on behalf of Syria’s ruling regime and whose primary goals include the elimination of the state of Israel. The United States has classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.