Ne­tanyahu con­firms strikes on Ira­nian tar­gets in Syria

San Francisco Chronicle - - WORLD - By Aron Heller

JERUSALEM — Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu con­firmed Sun­day that Is­rael has struck hun­dreds of Ira­nian and Hezbol­lah tar­gets in Syria, in­clud­ing a weapons fa­cil­ity in a week­end air strike, as the mil­i­tary an­nounced the dis­cov­ery of a sixth and fi­nal tun­nel dug by the Le­banese mil­i­tant group for cross-bor­der at­tacks.

The state­ments marked a rare, pub­lic ac­knowl­edg­ment of Is­raeli at­tacks against Hezbol­lah and its pa­tron Iran in neigh­bor­ing Syria, where Is­rael is long be­lieved to have tar­geted Ira­nian weapons ship­ments to the Le­banese Shi­ite group.

Is­rael, how­ever, has un­til now gen­er­ally re­frained from com­ment­ing about the strikes for fear of caus­ing a re­ac­tion and be­ing drawn into the deadly fight­ing in neigh­bor­ing Syria’s civil war.

At his weekly Cab­i­net meet­ing, Ne­tanyahu pub­licly con­firmed the strike as he thanked out­go­ing mil­i­tary chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot for long years of ser­vice and par­tic­u­larly his di­rect­ing of Is­rael’s shad­owy cam­paign against Iran in re­cent years.

“We have op­er­ated with im­pres­sive suc­cess in thwart­ing Iran from es­tab­lish­ing a mil­i­tary foothold in Syria, in the frame­work of which the mil­i­tary has struck hun­dreds of times against Ira­nian and Hezbol­lah tar­gets,” Ne­tanyahu said.

Eisenkot will be re­placed Tues­day by Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi. Part of his legacy has been the re­cent Le­banese bor­der op­er­a­tion, which the mil­i­tary said thwarted Hezbol­lah’s prime strate­gic in­vest­ment for its next po­ten­tial war.

Mil­i­tary spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Con­ri­cus said Sun­day the fi­nal tun­nel was the largest dis­cov­ered so far, run­ning hun­dreds yards from un­der a Le­banese home and deep into Is­raeli ter­ri­tory. Is­rael launched Op­er­a­tion North­ern Shield early last month to de­tect and de­stroy what it called a vast net­work of Hezbol­lah tun­nels aimed for mil­i­tants to sneak across the bor­der, cap­ture ter­ri­tory and stage dev­as­tat­ing at­tacks.

Is­rael and the United Na­tions say the tun­nels vi­o­late a cease­fire res­o­lu­tion that ended a dev­as­tat­ing war be­tween Is­rael and Hezbol­lah in 2006. Con­ri­cus said the U.N. peace­keep­ing mis­sion, known as UNIFIL, was up­dated on the lat­est de­vel­op­ment.

Aron Heller is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.