Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Israel Carried Out Attacks Against Iranian Targets in Syria, PM Netanyahu Claims

Israel Carried Out Attacks Against Iranian Targets in Syria, PM Netanyahu Claims

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel had at the weekend carried out an airstrike on Iranian weapons in Syria, a rare public confirmation of such attacks.

Israel has traditionally refrained from publicizing military operations against Iranian-linked targets on its northern front, but has been lifting the veil in recent days, a sign of confidence in a campaign waged amid occasional tension with Syria's big-power backer, Russia.

Only recently has it begun to speak publicly about thwarting the weapons smuggling from Iran through Styria into Lebanon. In a New York Times interview published Friday, Eisenkot said that Israel "has struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit" as part of his showdown with Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force.

Netanyahu says Israel says the recent strikes prove "we are committed more than ever to act against Iran in Syria".

"Hezbollah's operational plan was to use the tunnels weapon to infiltrate many fighters, between 1,000-2,000 terrorists, into the Galilee to seize communities here".

He said this entailed "hundreds" of attacks over the past several years of Syria's civil war, in which Iran and Hezbollah have backed Damascus against rebels and Islamist insurgents.

"All of the tunnels have been exposed and have either already been destroyed or are going to be destroyed", military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters.


It is believed the tunnels were allowing militants to sneak across the border and carry out attacks.

"We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve a month and a half ago", he said.

Hezbollah has not commented on the tunnels, the existence of several of which was confirmed by United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon.

With the sixth Hezbollah tunnel discovered Saturday afternoon, Israel declared victory and announced the completion of Operation Northern Shield on Sunday.

The powerful Shiite Hezbollah group, which acts independently in Lebanon, has yet to comment on the tunnels.

In the wake of its discoveries, Israel has asked the global community to impose tough sanctions on Hezbollah and begin to act against its state-within-a-state operation in Lebanon.

In recent years, Hezbollah has been bogged down in fighting in Syria on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. He added that Hezbollah retained underground facilities on the Lebanese side.

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