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Israel Confirms Carrying Out Syrian Air Strike

  • RFE/RL

Israeli officials have confirmed the country's war planes carried out a strike against Syria targeting a shipment of missiles bound for Lebanon's Hizballah.

The officials said the shipment was not of chemical arms, but of "game-changing" weapons for the militant group.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials said the air strike took place early on May 3. However, they did not say where it took place.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said Israel would be prepared to take military action if chemical weapons or other arms from Syria were to reach the Hizballah militia.

It marks the second time this year that U.S. ally Israel has conducted an air strike in Syria.

Diplomats said that in January, Israel carried out an air strike on a weapons convoy in Syria thought to be en route to Hizballah, an ally of the Syrian regime.

Israel fought a monthlong war against Hizballah in 2006.

Obama: No Troops To Syria

In another development, President Barack Obama said he didn't "foresee" sending U.S. ground troops into Syria.

Obama said he hadn't been able to envision a scenario in which deploying U.S. soldiers inside Syria would be good for the United States or Syria.

Obama also said that if evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria was confirmed, he would present the evidence to the international community.

The Syrian opposition and regime have previously blamed each other for alleged chemical-weapons attacks.

Obama’s remarks came a day after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the United States was considering providing arms to Syrian rebels.

The United States has been providing humanitarian aid and nonlethal military supplies to Syrian opposition forces.

Some U.S. military commanders have expressed concerns that weapons could wind up in the possession of anti-American Islamist militants.

Syria's Sunni Muslim rebels are believed to receive arms and military support from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, while the Syrian regime is allied with Iran and Russia, a major arms supplier.

The United Nations estimates that more than 70,000 people have been killed since fighting between forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebels erupted in March, 2011.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP