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Israeli Air Strike Hits Syrian Army Center


May 5, 2013
Al Jazeera & The Associated Press

Syrian state television has reported that a series of heavy explosions in the capital were caused by Israeli rocket strikes. SANA said the blasts early Sunday morning targeted a military research centre on the outskirts of the capital. The research centre in Jamraya was the target of an earlier Israeli strike in January.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/05/20135502043908700.html

Syria: 'Israeli Strike' Hits Army Center
Al Jazeera



(May 5, 2013) -- Syrian state television has reported that a series of heavy explosions in the capital were caused by Israeli rocket strikes. SANA said the blasts early Sunday morning targeted a military research centre on the outskirts of the capital. The research centre in Jamraya was the target of an earlier Israeli strike in January.

"The new Israeli attack is an attempt to raise the morale of the terrorist groups which have been reeling from strikes by our noble army," Syrian television said, referring to recent offensives by the forces of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, against the armed opposition.

The agency did not say whether there were any wounded or dead.

Video footage uploaded onto the Internet by activists showed a huge ball of fire rising into the night sky.

A Damascus resident described the blasts to Al Jazeera, saying they felt like "an earthquake" and "unprecedented".

There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials on Sunday's explosions.

"We don't respond to this kind of report," an Israeli military spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency.
The US State Department had no immediate comment and the Israeli embassy in Washington declined comment.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based watchdog group, has also reported several explosions in the capital and its surrounding countryside.

The Syrian state media claims, reported by the Reuters news agency, come after Israel confirmed that its air force hit a shipment of missiles in Syria bound for Hezbollah.

Israel has repeatedly warned that it is prepared to resort to force to prevent Syrian weapons, including chemical weapons, from reaching Hezbollah or groups.

US president Barack Obama said on Saturday, before the latest incident, that it was up to Israel to confirm or deny any strikes, but that the US coordinates very closely with Israel.

"The Israelis, justifiably, have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah," Obama told the Spanish-language TV station Telemundo.

In recent days, there were signs of mounting tensions between Israel and Hezbollah.

In a warning to Israel earlier this week, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said his militia "is ready and has its hand on the trigger" in the event of an Israeli attack on any targets in Lebanon.

The Israeli military, meanwhile, called up several thousand reservists earlier this week for what it called a "surprise" military exercise on its border with Lebanon.





Syria Says Israel Strikes Military Research Center
Associated Press

BEIRUT (May 4, 2013) -- The Syrian state news agency SANA, citing initial reports, said early Sunday that Israeli missiles struck a military research center near the capital Damascus.

If confirmed, it would be the second Israeli strike on targets in Syria in three days, signaling a sharp escalation of Israel's involvement in Syria's bloody civil war.

Israel has said it will not allow sophisticated weapons to flow from Syria to the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and a heavily armed foe of the Jewish state.

Two previous Israeli airstrikes, one in January and one on Friday, targeted weapons shipments apparently bound for Hezbollah, Israeli and US officials have said.

Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment on the reports of a new strike Sunday. In Washington, a Pentagon spokeswoman said she had no information relating to the report by Syrian state media.

SANA said explosions went off at the Jamraya research center near Damascus, causing casualties. "Initial reports point to these explosions being a result of Israeli missiles that targeted the research center in Jamraya," SANA said.

A Syrian activist group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also reported large explosions in the area of Jamraya, a research facility northwest of Damascus, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the Lebanese border.

Israel's first airstrike in Syria, in January, also struck Jamraya.

At the time, a US official said Israel targeted trucks next to the research center that carried SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles. The strikes hit both the trucks and the research facility, the official said. The Syrian military said at the time that Israeli warplanes crossed into the country and bombed the research center.

On Saturday, Israeli officials confirmed that a day earlier, Israeli aircraft targeted a weapons shipment in Syria that was apparently bound for Hezbollah. US officials said they believed the strike hit a warehouse.

The Israeli and US officials spoke anonymously because they had not been given permission to speak publicly about the matter.

President Barack Obama said Saturday, before the latest incident, that it was up to Israel to confirm or deny any strikes, but that the US coordinates very closely with Israel.

"The Israelis, justifiably, have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah," Obama told the Spanish-language TV station Telemundo.

Federman reported from Jerusalem.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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