Israeli Air Force planes attacked a Syrian base in the early hours of Thursday last week, destroying the advanced missiles that were stored there.
American officials confirmed that the explosions heard in the area were the result of an Israeli strike.
No official Israeli source confirmed the attack but it was in line with the country’s policy to carry out strikes only on advanced weapons systems that, in the view of Israeli intelligence, may be about to be shipped to Hizbollah in Lebanon.
This was the sixth such strike in the past two years and Israel does not take responsibility for the attacks as a matter of policy.
According to sources in the Syrian opposition, the base believed to have been attacked was near the Mediterranean port town of Latakia, in the north-eastern region dominated by the President Bashar al Assad’s Allawite sect. The sources said that the base had been used to store Russian-made ballistic missiles.
Previous strikes are reported to have targeted anti-aircraft missiles; cruise missiles capable of hitting ships in the Mediterranean and Israeli natural-gas platforms; and chemical weapons research centres.
Israeli officials expressed anger at the fact that sources within the Obama administration had confirmed to the media that Israel was behind attacks. According to Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Israel protested to the White House that its leak could “endanger the security of Israel and the region as a whole”. However, up until now, neither the Assad regime nor Hizbollah has directly retaliated.