Israelis say Syria strike shows "when we say something we mean it"

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak gestures during a podium discussion on the third day of the 49th Munich Security Conference on 3 February 2013 in Munich, southern Germany as world leaders, ministers and top military gather for talks with the spotlight on Syria, Mali and Iran. (Photo: AFP/Christof Stache)

Published Sunday, February 3, 2013

Updated 2:08pm: Israeli outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak implicitly confirmed on Sunday an Israeli air strike on Syria this week.

Barak told the Munich Security Conference it was "another proof that when we say something we mean it.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday accused Israel of seeking to "destabilize" Syria, state news agency SANA said.

The raid "unmasked the true role Israel is playing, in collaboration with foreign enemy forces and their agents on Syrian soil, to destabilize and weaken Syria," Assad said during a meeting in Damascus with a top Iranian official.

Although US officials say Israelis targeted anti-aircraft weapons going from Syria to Lebanon, Syrian officials said that the Israelis were targeting a scientific research center in the Damascus suburb of Jamarya.

“We say that we don't think that it should be allowable to bring advanced weapon systems into Lebanon," Barak said at the Munich security conference.

Syrian TV aired footage of the damage to the Jamarya scientific research center resulting from the strike.

Barak also told the Germans that Assad’s fall was “coming imminently” and that it would be a “major blow to Hezbollah and to the Iranians,” “the only allies Assad has left.”

Barak predicted that Hezbollah and Iran would "pay the price" for Assad’s fall.

The Israeli defense minister was the first Israeli official to directly or indirectly comment on the strike.

Only two of the possible Israeli targets – the research center and a Syrian convoy allegedly headed towards Lebanon – were made public after the attack.

Western intelligence officials had told Time Magazine however that Israelis had attacked three or four locations in Syria on Tuesday.

The report also indicated that Israelis had been given the "green light" to launch further airstrikes on Syrian targets and that the United States and the Israelis are reportedly poised to launch more airstrikes on Syrian territories.

(Al-Akhbar, AFP)

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