Sunday, 5 May 2013

israel gathers troops and tanks to the Syrian border

Two-thousand Israeli soldiers, backed by tanks, are on full alert at the Syrian border Sunday after an apparent airstrike by the Jewish state inside the war-torn country — but Israel claims it has no intention of beginning a ground incursion.

“We have moved our best-trained people to the border with Syria on the Golan Heights. The tank battalion on the Golan is ready to move at short notice if the need arises,” a top Israeli official told the Daily News.

The missile strikes early Sunday morning — which Israel did not confirm — slammed a military research center near Damascus, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad called the bombing a “declaration of war,” and vowed to retaliate against Israel.

In response, Israel Defense Forces have deployed two of their Iron Dome missile-defense batteries to northern cities.

If confirmed, the Sunday airstrike would be the third hit on targets in Syria by Israel this year, and second in three days, indicating a steep escalation of Israel’s role as Syria is consumed in a bloody civil war.

Israeli warplanes slammed a shipment of missiles headed toward the Lebanese military group Hezbollah early Friday, Israeli officials confirmed.

 Israeli experts in the region defended the latest airstrike.”Israel is acting in order to ensure … that advanced weapons don’t get transferred to Hezbollah, either to store them for future use by the Syrian regime or just as a gift for supporting the Syrian regime,” said Joshua Teitelbaum, a Syria expert at Bar-Ilan University in Israel

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