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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid