Lieberman on Syria Strike: Israel Trying to Prevent Hezbollah From Obtaining WMDs

In the second such incident in seven days, Syria confirmed Israel struck a military airport in Damascus, close to Bashar Assad's palace.

Lieberman at a tour of the Northern Command, June 2016.
Lieberman at a tour of the Northern Command, June 2016. Ariel Hermony

In the wake of the reported Israeli strike in Syria, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday Israel is making efforts to bar weapons of mass destruction from being smuggled from Syria to Hezbollah.

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During a meeting with the European Union envoys in Israel on Wednesday to discuss Middle Eastern affairs, Lieberman said that "we are first and foremost making efforts to maintain the security of our citizens and protect our sovereignty, and trying to prevent the smuggling of sophisticated weapons, military equipment and weapons of mass destruction from Syria to Hezbollah." 

Lieberman said that while Israel has no intention of intervening in the civil war in Syria, his position is that "the Iranians and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad must be out" regardless of what resolution is reached to end the conflict there. 

According to Syrian state news agency SANA, Israel "launched a number of surface-to-surface missiles from inside the occupied territories" at the Mezze Military Airport in Damascus, not far from Bashar Assad’s palace. SANA called the incident "a desperate attempt to support the terrorist groups and raise their morale."

According to the pan-Arab Al-Mayadeen television channel, however, Israelijets targeted the Mezze Military Airport in Damascus, which neighbors President Bashar Assad's palace. Loud explosions in the Mezzeh neighborhood were also reported on social media. Al-Arabiya, meanwhile, reported that fires broke out at the airport and that emergency vehicle sirens were heard in the area.

Last week, Syria said that Israeli jets attacked west of Damascus, with reports in Arab media saying an arms convoy intended for Hezbollah was the target. The news came amid tensions along Israel's northern border after clashes between the Israeli army and militants affiliated with the Islamic State group.

According to Syria's state television, the jets fires two missiles during the sortie and no one was hurt or killed. The attack, it said, took place near the town of As'saboura.