This came before reports emerging at 2 o'clock local time on Sunday morning of six airstrikes that targeted a Syrian military base in Jamraya, next to Damascus. Syrian media, as well as the Hezbollah-linked Al Manar TV, have blamed Israel for the attack.
UK Foreign Minister William Hague said yesterday that despite a lack of official Israeli confirmation on the issue, the UK understands Israel’s “need to defend itself.”
Also on Sunday, outgoing Lebanese Foreign Minister and Amal party member Adnan Mansour condemned what he termed as “Israeli aggression and the silence of the international community,” concerning the repeated violations of Lebanese airspace by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in the run-up to the attack.
Suspicions about an impending airstrike came after eight Israeli fighter jets violated Lebanese airspace within a 14-hour period on Friday morning.
Israeli officials had confirmed privately that the IAF had struck a weapons convoy of “advanced” missiles headed for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Israeli and US government sources have not yet revealed the site of the airstrike, while a Syrian opposition website said that the attack targeted Damascus airport, including fuel and ammunition stocks.
Israeli officials quoted in the newspaper Ha’aretz on Saturday said that the shipment was not of chemical weapons, but rather what they termed “game changing” large missiles.
Several sources, including US officials, have speculated that Israel conducted the attack without entering Syrian airspace.
Anonymous Israeli officials told Ha’aretz that the IAF possess what they termed “standoff bombs,” which can glide to find a pre-acquired target, allowing Israel to attack sites from outside Syrian territory.
During a press conference in late April, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon admitted that Israel had “already acted” to prevent the supply of weapons to Hezbollah, signalling confirmation of a strike inside Syria in January this year.