We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Wed 3 Oct 2007 10:13 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Israel admits Syria strike on 'military target'

Country breaks silence to confirm strike, speculation continues over reason for attack.

Israel on Wednesday confirmed it had conducted an air strike inside Syria on September 6, a month after keeping an official silence.

Army radio published the news after the Israeli military censor lifted a media blackout on the strike, in which Syria had said its air defences fired on Israeli warplanes that had dropped ammunition inside its territory.

"The military censor has authorised for the first time the publication of the fact that Israeli combat planes attacked a military target deep inside Syrian territory on September 6," the radio said, quoted AFP.

"It is the only element that the censor allowed to be published," it added.

Despite the military censorship now lifted, Israel's army and prime minister's office refused to make any further comments on the strike.

Speculation about the cause of the strike has been rife in the foreign media, with some saying that Israel bombed a suspected nuclear/missile facility which Syria had developed with the help of North Korea, both charges rebutted by both Damascus and Pyongyang.

Other reports have suggested the raid may have targeted Iranian arms bound for the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla movement.

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad said in a television interview broadcast on Monday that the strike target was an "unused military building" and said the warplanes had hit "nothing of consequence."

Al Assad also said that Syria reserved the right to respond to the attack.

"Retaliate does not mean missile for missile and bomb for bomb. We have our means to retaliate, maybe politically, maybe in other ways," Al Assad told the BBC.

Diplomats in Damascus say at least four Israeli warplanes crossed deep into Syria during last month's operation.

Syria and Israel are formally still in a state of war. Peace talks between the two collapsed in 2000 over the scope of an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, a plateau which Israel occupied from Syria in 1967.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.