News / Middle East

Israel Takes Defensive Steps After Reported Strike in Syria

An Israeli Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) and Merkava tanks maneuver during a drill in the Israeli annexed Golan Heights near the border with Syria on May 6, 2013.
An Israeli Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) and Merkava tanks maneuver during a drill in the Israeli annexed Golan Heights near the border with Syria on May 6, 2013.
Scott Bobb
Israel has closed its northern airspace to commercial aviation and deployed two batteries of an anti-missile defense system there after a series of reported Israeli air strikes in Syria. A Syrian activist group says the strikes killed at least 42 Syrian soldiers.

Israel's boundaries with Syria and Lebanon were quiet Monday although its security forces were on high alert, one day after the reported attack into Syria.
 
Security sources in the United States said the targets were advanced weapons that were to be transferred to Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group.
 
Syria denied the charge. Its information minister, Omran al-Zoubi, read a statement following an emergency Cabinet meeting late Sunday in Damascus calling the attacks a blatant act of aggression.
 
He said Syria has the right and the responsibility to protect its country and people from any form of infringement at home or abroad.
 
The French news agency, AFP, quoted unidentified government sources in Damascus Monday as saying that Syria would choose the timing of any retaliation and this might not come immediately.
 
It was the second attack attributed to Israel inside Syria in three days. One of the targets reportedly was hit in a previous Israeli strike in January.
 
Israeli officials have refused to comment directly on the reports but Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin told Israeli radio that Israel is worried about Syria's advanced weaponry as the Syrian civil war enters its third year.
 
He said for a long time Israeli officials have expressed fear over weapons provided to Syria by Iran or other powers. He added that what worries Israeli officials most is the possibility that these weapons could find their way to Hezbollah.
 
The Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot Monday said Israel sent a secret message through diplomatic channels to the Syrian government saying it did not intend to become involved in Syria's civil war.
 
Israeli parliament member Tzachi Hanegby, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said if there was any Israeli attack, it was against Hezbollah and not Syria.
 
The former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Itamar Rabinovich, now a Tel Aviv University professor, said Syria's civil war is affecting its neighbors and flooding them with refugees.
 
Rabinovich said Israel so far has been only marginally affected by the war but this could change in a moment and this moment is getting closer.
 
Syria's allies, Russia and China, criticized the attack. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and France expressed concern that the Syrian conflict could spread.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama said Israel is justified in protecting itself from arms shipments to Hezbollah.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

Key stock indexes in London, Paris and Germany were down nearly three percent, while US market indexes were off around two percent in early trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs