Mystery deepens over Israeli strike on Syria

By Donald Macintyrein Jerusalem

Published: 15 September 2007

 

Israel is still maintaining official silence a week after Syria complained that Israeli aircraft invaded its airspace in a mysterious incident which raised tensions and triggered a welter of US media speculation about possible targets for the operation.

Explanations – for what anonymous US officials have said was a strike inside Syria – range from suggesting it was aimed at the shipment of weapons to Hizbollah from Iran, to saying Syria may be building a nuclear facility with North Korean help.

Syria, which has asked for a formal complaint to be “circulated” to the UN Security Council, said last week that Israeli aircraft unloaded ammunition after being spotted and fired on by its air defences but inflicted no damage.

Reuters, The New York Times and CNN have all quoted officials – mainly in the US – as saying that Israel carried out a strike in Syria. Reuters quoted an unnamed US official on Wednesday as saying: “The strike I can confirm. The target I can’t.” The agency quoted another US official as saying that reports on the targets were “confused”.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported this week a US official as saying that recent satellite imagery, mainly provided by Israel, suggested that Syria may building some form of nuclear facility with the help of material unloaded by North Korea.

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