BEIRUT Israel launched a rare airstrike inside Syria, U.S. officials said Wednesday, targeting a convoy believed to contain anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. The attack adds a potentially flammable new element to tensions already heightened by Syria's civil war.
It was the latest salvo in Israel's long-running effort to disrupt the Shiite militia's quest to build an arsenal capable of defending against Israel's air force and spreading destruction inside the Jewish state.
Regional security officials said the strike, which occurred overnight Tuesday, targeted a site near the Lebanese border, while a Syrian army statement said it destroyed a military research center northwest of the capital, Damascus. They appeared to be referring to the same incident.
U.S. officials said the target was a truck convoy that Israel believed was carrying sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon
. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the operation. CBS News' David Martin at the Pentagon also reported Israel hit a convoy believed to be carrying weapons to Hezbollah
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Regional security officials said Israel had been planning in the days leading up to the airstrike to hit a shipment of weapons bound for Hezbollah, 홍성콜걸
Lebanon's most powerful military force and a sworn enemy of the Jewish state. Among Israeli officials' chief fears is that Assad will pass chemical weapons or sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah something that could change the balance of power in the region and greatly hinder Israel's ability to conduct air sorties in Lebanon.