Netanyahu Admits to Conducting Airstrikes in Syria

14 January, 2019, 08:42 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Tunnel used for militant attacks had stairs and rail system, Israel says

Israel acknowledged on Sunday that it carried out a weekend air strike on what it called an Iranian arms cache in Syria.

Netanyahu added that Israel had attacked Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria hundreds of times.

He praised the IDF chief's work against the manufacture of precision weapons in Lebanon, dismantling Hezbollah's attack tunnels during Operation Northern Shield, action against Hamas on the Gaza border and in thwarting hundreds of terrorist attacks in the West Bank.

In a New York Times interview published Friday, Lt Gen Eisenkot - the man who is credited with marshalling Israel's Syria campaign against Hezbollah and Iran - revealed the government approved his shift in strategy in January 2017 to step up airstrikes in Syria.

Netanyahu, visiting the northern border later on Sunday, put the number at "between 1,000 and 2,000" Hezbollah fighters.

The latest tunnel, found on Saturday, began in the Lebanese village of Ramyeh, some 800 metres (yards) away from Israel, the army said.

The attacks against Iranian targets and not only on Hezbollah arms convoys, were authorised by cabinet in 2017, he explained in his interview to the USA newspaper.

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

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Lt Col Conricus said: "We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve a month and a half ago".

Israel and the United Nations say the tunnels violate a ceasefire resolution made after a 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

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

Israel has pledged to prevent its enemy Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where it is backing President Bashar Assad's regime alongside Russian Federation and Hezbollah.

Israel has long called for a crackdown on the Iran-backed Hezbollah, a heavily armed mini-army that is believed to possess an arsenal of some 150,000 rockets that can reach almost all of Israel.

Israel has called on the worldwide community to impose tough sanctions on Hezbollah and act against the state within a state operation in Lebanon.

Conricus said there were no more tunnels reaching Israel from Lebanon but the army was still monitoring "facilities" being dug by Hezbollah within Lebanese territory.

Israel has until now generally refrained from commenting about the strikes for fear of triggering a reaction and being drawn into the deadly fighting in neighbouring Syria's civil war.

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