News Column

Iran Threatens Israel Over Syria Strike

Jan. 31, 2013

After Syria and Lebanon, Iran too has reacted sharply to the reports of an Israeli attack on Syria. The Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said this afternoon that his country "condemns the Zionist action on Syrian territory" and that "the Israeli attack will have serious consequences in Tel Aviv", Channel 2 reports.

Israel has declared in recent months that it will not allow sophisticated weaponry to find its way from Syria to Hezbollah. For its part, Iran has declared that any attack on its ally Syria will be considered as an attack on Iran itself. A senior aide to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei made clear this week that the Revolutionary Guard was completely committed to the security of Syrian president Bashar Assad and his regime.

The aide, Ali Akbar Velayati, said in an interview with the Iranian news agency that his country would act to keep the president of Syria in power, and would use all possible measures to ensure the survival of the regime in the face of the civil war. Earlier this month, the Iranian chief of staff said that an Israeli attack in Syria would lead to a conflagration that would engulf Europe, and maybe places further afield.

Meanwhile, Reuters has published testimony of local eye-witnesses about the explosion alleged to have taken place at the weapons and defense research center in the Jamarya area in the suburbs of Damascus, according to which Israel Air Force planes flew low to evade radar detection, breached Lebanese and Syrian airspace, and hit the site. The eye-witnesses said that the site had been completely destroyed and that several workers had been killed. According to a Syrian spokesperson, the attack focused on one building that was destroyed, as was an adjacent development center, and no attack was carried out on a Hezbollah convoy, contrary to earlier reports.

Earlier today, the Hezbollah organization and Russia responded sharply to the report. Hezbollah described the alleged Israeli operation as "barbaric and criminal" In its statement, the organization said that "the attack exposes the criminal intention of destroying Syria and its army." According to foreign reports, Hezbollah was due to have received the weapons consignment that was allegedly intercepted.

The Russian foreign ministry released a declaration that, if the attack indeed took place, " then we are dealing with unprovoked strikes against targets located on the territory of a sovereign state, which brazenly infringes on the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motive used for its justification."

Lebanese newspaper Ad-Diyar reported this morning that the Syrian, Jordanian, and Lebanese armies, and Hezbollah forces, had raised their levels of alert on the borders, fearing a military confrontation with Israel. According to the report, the Syrian army has deployed small divisions specializing in guerilla warfare similar to Hezbollah in the Golan area. At the same time, according to the report, units of the Syrian army and of Hezbollah have been stationed in the village of Shuba and the Sheba'a Farms in Southern Lebanon.

Source: (c)2013 Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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