May 5th, 2013
10:53 AM ET

Syria: Attack on military facility was a 'declaration of war' by Israel

By Frederik Pleitgen and Sara Sidner

A Syrian official called an attack Sunday on the nation's military research facility a "declaration of war" by Israel.

In an interview with CNN, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad said the attack represented an alliance between Islamic terrorists and Israel.

He added that Syria would retaliate against Israel in its own time and way.

Early Sunday morning, a series of massive explosions illuminated the predawn sky in Damascus, prompting more claims that Israel has launched attacks into the war-torn country.

Syria accused Israel of firing rockets into the Damascus suburb of Jamraya, striking the research center, Syrian state-run TV reported. The report claimed that the rocket attack on the research center aided rebels, who have been battling government forces in the region.

The Israeli military would not confirm nor deny the Syrian TV claim that Israel had launched rockets.

"We do not comment on these reports at all," an Israeli military spokesperson said.

An Israeli Army official told CNN that two rocket interception batteries have been deployed to northern Israel.

The report comes shortly after U.S. officials first told CNN that the United States believes Israel conducted an airstrike against Syria. Two U.S. officials told CNN on Friday that Israel apparently launched an airstrike into Syria on Thursday or Friday. Based on initial information, the United States does not believe Israeli warplanes entered Syrian airspace to conduct the strike.

The Israeli military did not comment on the U.S. claim of an airstrike. But Israel has long said it would target any transfer of weapons to Hezbollah or other terrorist groups, as well as at any effort to smuggle Syrian weapons into Lebanon that could threaten Israel.

"We are watching everything when it comes to the movement of these types of weapons. We have the means to do that," a senior Israeli defense official told CNN's Sara Sidner on Sunday. The official is not authorized to speak to the media.

Shaul Mofaz, a lawmaker with Israel's Knesset, told Israeli Army Radio that Israel isn't meddling with Syria's civil war. But Israel must protect itself from Lebanese militants, he said.

"For Israel, it is very important that the front group for Iran, which is in Lebanon, needs to be stopped," Mofaz said.

"Everything that goes into the hands of Hezbollah is not directly related to the rebels. Israel never interfered in the past or today in their actions.

Nevertheless, I need to say that Hezbollah is deeply involved up to its neck in what is happening in Syria. Hezbollah helps the Iranians navigate against the rebels."

Neither Hezbollah nor the Lebanese government commented immediately after Sunday's claims.

Syria: Israel has targeted the defense facility before

Sunday's report is the second claim by Syria this year of a strike against the government defense research facility,

In January, reports surfaced that Israeli warplanes targeted the Jamraya research facility. The Syrian government has said that airstrike killed two workers and injured five others.

A U.S. official told CNN at the time the Syrian claims were false. The official said Israeli fighter jets targeted a Syrian government convoy carrying surface-to-air missiles bound for Hezbollah. But Syria denied there were such shipments.

Lebanon reports Israeli warplanes overhead

Claims of Israeli foreign presence was not limited to Syria; the Lebanese army said Israel flew warplanes over Lebanon on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Lebanese President Gen. Michel Sleiman condemned the violations as "an attempt to shaken Lebanese stability," the state-run National News Agency reported Saturday.

The Israeli military had no comment on the Lebanese claim. But an Israeli defense source said, "We will do whatever is necessary to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorist organizations. We have done it in the past, and we will do it if necessary the future."

Sectarian violence continues

The latest report of rocket attacks comes as sectarian violence erupted in northwestern Syria. Three consecutive days of killing by mostly Alawite forces have left hundreds of predominantly Sunni residents dead, opposition groups said Saturday.

State media have said their forces were seeking only to clear the area of "terrorists," the term they have routinely used when referring to rebel forces.
But the U.S. State Department said it was "appalled by horrific reports that more than 100 people were killed May 2" in Beyda, a suburb of Baniyas.

Several opposition groups said largely Alawite regime forces used tanks, battleships and missile launchers to target largely Sunni neighborhoods in and around the coastal city of Baniyas.

Government forces killed at least 200 people on Friday and Saturday in Baniyas and its suburbs, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said Saturday.

But reliable information has been difficult to obtain because government forces controlled access to the village, the LCC said.

A graphic video posted by activists who said it was shot in the Ras al-Nabaa neighborhood showed people, including an infant, lying lifeless on the ground. Many bore what appeared to be bullet wounds, and some appeared burned.

CNN has not been able to confirm the video's authenticity, as access to Syrian war zones has been severely limited by the government.

State-run Syrian TV reported that government troops and the National Defense militia - an armed Alawite group loyal to the government, "have cleaned the area from armed terrorists" after "they burned civilians' homes and terrorized the population." The report was supported by interviews with members of the Syrian army.

U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters on Friday that he did not foresee a scenario of "American boots on the ground in Syria" that would be good for that country or the region. Obama said other leaders in the region want to see al-Assad out of power.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reported from Damascus; Sara Sidner reported from Jerusalem. CNN's Holly Yan, Barbara Starr and Saad Abedine contributed to this report

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Filed under: Israel • Syria
soundoff (37 Responses)
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    October 19, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  2. PrinceWimdo

    Declare war against Israel? Assad should've begging them for help!

    May 16, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
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    May 6, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  4. Jdrhkm Feryil

    Anyone male here that has ever "had a Vigin" knows that it is to be avoided as it is a bloody reward at best.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  5. Dave0943

    Well said Pete. I have two sons fightingin the sand. The sad part is that the American soldiers do really feel sorry for the kids in Iraq, and the rest of that pile of sand. We should just pack up and go home. Let the Habibs fight the tribal wars and kill each other. And then there is the Habibs that teach kids to strap on bombs for god. America isn't perfect but I'm glad I am American. My sons are there and they really do believe that they are there to do good. I guess that's my failure as a father to have not taught them different. I am proud of them for having what most of the world lacks now and that is compassion for the kids in those countries. The one thing that we should never give up is the idea that we will not except Iran with the Bomb. Then the kids will be strapping those on for a few more Virgins in paradise than they are promised now. What a faith!

    May 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Reply
    • Pete

      @Dave I applaud hour kids overseas as Americas best ..My son now out of the navy operated drones that posters here rant that he's a murderer but hey he was smart and they in the military know where to put smart people that's all I know..Again America should stay away from useless wars and I as well as many believe that Pres.Obamas doing his damnest to stay away from them as well using diplomacy and crippling sanctions instead of more boots on the ground ..Take care and to your sons Gods speed...

      May 7, 2013 at 11:02 am | Reply
  6. Rtyihv Htyihk


    May 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  7. Jdrtukl Vsrtyi

    (SHA-REE-AH) law is not a government the U.S. is a Gov. with a military. The U.S. has had terrorists that are locked-up or dead in the U.S. Terrorism is not to be confused with religion as (MO-HAM-ID) is a deciple of the Art of War written by a godless Chinese author well before the Jews wrote the second version of the Bible.

    May 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  8. comomsen

    We have to stop and asks ourselves, what is to be gain for aggression. You don't get peace by first shooting and killing. They not looking for peace, they are looking for submission to gain more land. Lets keep bias and ideology from all sides out of the discussion, you will better understand what is going on.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:05 am | Reply
    • USMC1371

      I understand they are protecting their people from the Muslim animals in Syria. What else is their to know?

      May 6, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply
      • BigShiz

        You just cant help you're ignorant bigotry,can you?

        May 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Nambi

      well stated the prejudice replies truly demonstrate they mental insanity the pro-Israeli extremists views. very unproductive

      May 9, 2013 at 9:36 am | Reply
  9. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    May 6, 2013 at 2:06 am | Reply
    • Ryan

      John Smith? Such a generic name that this must be a fake account.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:51 am | Reply
      • Dave0943

        I was thinking the same thing. Where's John Doe?

        May 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • smokinjo6263

      C'mon Habib! Hiding behind an american name/ Your really Al Queda aren't you? How can we tell? Your English sucks

      May 6, 2013 at 9:18 am | Reply
    • smokinjo6263

      Habib, there isn't that many people that you mentioned In THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. Go spit your rhetoric somewhere else Mr Al Qaeda. We killed 4 million. You must be living in North Korea because there aren't even 4 million people living in these countrys

      May 6, 2013 at 9:22 am | Reply
      • John Smith

        4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced. First learn how to read.

        May 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  10. helenecha

    Didn’t Obama foresee American boots on the ground in Syria? Ok, did he see that the terrorists in Syria mentioned by Israel, one of the American alliances, were so different from the ones seen by Syrian leaders right now?

    May 6, 2013 at 1:33 am | Reply
  11. Rtyuk Eryujn

    Owning the media and controling the news is just another day in the live of a...wait for it...wait for it...banker. Hey... have you ever noticed how Bankers origin is bank i.e. westbank & the standard of the "West" is the Westbank? What will they think of next?

    May 6, 2013 at 12:40 am | Reply
  12. Solidground

    Well this could be the start of WWIII...I find it odd that CNN has not reported the China invasion on India. How China has set up a base 19 km within India"s border. In fact, last I read they weren't budging and sending more troops to the area.How does this not make headlines?

    May 5, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Reply
    • Jomama

      This is a different subject you mention this about china and I checked it out.Heres something else who now controls asia s water.Theres damn building everywhere over there ,search around and check it out.

      May 7, 2013 at 5:01 am | Reply
  13. helenecha

    The attack represented an alliance between Syrian people and Israel, for the military research facility should be terrorists' target.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  14. Kdfgjk Fdftj

    Now how many of these terrorists in terrorist groups could be considered as the reason the region has been flush with brutal Dictators?

    May 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  15. Kdfgjk Fdftj

    Yep...Syria has a terrorist problem alright. Could any of the following groups not be considered terrorists by other terrorists?

    May 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  16. zelskid

    Israel will not let these missiles into Lebanon

    May 5, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  17. Kdrtuk Fdrhul

    )()assad did say he had a terrorist problem()()can we all agree that Syria has a terrorist problem()(

    May 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  18. Syre Sira

    @()A Syrian official called an attack Sunday on the nation’s military research facility a “declaration of war” by Israel.()( PUTTING WORDS IN PEOPLES MOUTHS IS NOT VERY NICE COMMRADE.

    May 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  19. Mike

    I agree !00%, as long as money and support provided, Isreal is not worry, because they know we will help with our Kid's blood.

    May 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • epenguin

      when have they ever asked for that. They are more then capable of defending themselves. You need to check facts

      May 7, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply
  20. Pete

    If this is a real declaration of war I purpose we stand back and let Netanyahus Isreal handle it and if American Jews here oppose than send them over there as well..I'm tired of US always being big brother to all these countries and we as usual not only getting involved but pretty much in it by ourselves after long ..We don't need another Vietnam or Iraq,Afghanistan to kill our kids when its known most of these middle eastern countries dispise US as well but just like republicans they'll turn to the devil if need be to get out of trouble at our expense something we've been saddled with in wars since WWI..Just let Isreal handle this little war on their own and let's see if Netanyahus chosen ones can do it alone which is hard for me to visualize since they've been on foriegn aid from US so long you think they're family but obviously they're not,just another black sheep in the family to support at our expense that's all!

    May 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Considering that it was Syria that together with other Arab countries attacked Israel back in 1948 and by doing it started the war it sounds pretty comical that the Syrian officials blame Israel for "declaration of war" 65 years later.. especially if one recalls that it was Syria that rejected any possibility of joining the peace process between Israel and the Arab states initiated by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat back in 1978; that it was Syria that declared time after time that nothing but destruction of Israel would bring peace to the region and solve the Palestinian problem; that it was Syria that supported Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Abu Nidal Organization, various Palestinian "fronts", Hezbollah and other organizations of mass murderers; that it was Syria that until recentluy occupied half of Lebanon; that it was Syria... but is not the picture clear enough?

      May 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply
      • massoud

        Wow amazing is it not that Israel and the terrorist group from the Free Syrian Army (Nusra Front) are both fighting Syria at the same time.

        May 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
      • Pete

        @thinker23,just stand back and let these two that have been historicly warring for thousands of years just have it out..Netanyahus Isreal has been picking fights with everyone of late like Iran and if we don't back them up and they get their ass kicked than it'll show how much these Jewish clowns in Isreal the supposid chosen ones really need us,foriegn aid and all..Just let these spoiled brats have their spat and give peace a chance because I'm tired of us losing kids for other countries problems,if its theirs let them fix it we have our own problems here to fix as well,fix ours first !!Also spend that foriegn aid here as well!!

        May 6, 2013 at 9:33 am |

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