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Monday, February 04, 2013

US officials: Israelis targeted weapons convoy, chem weapons facility was collateral damage

US officials confirm that an Israeli air strike last week targeted a convoy moving sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles from Syria to Hezbullah in Iran. The officials say that the damage to a Syrian chemical weapons storage facility was collateral damage and that the facility was not a target of the attack.
Syrian television showed images of broken glass and other damage at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, which is suspected of involvement in developing missiles to carry chemical weapons. But the video contained no evidence of a crater or the type of damage that would have been expected from a direct bombing.

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“The main target was a shipment of weapons in a convoy, potentially headed to the wrong kinds of people,” said one senior U.S. military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the incident.
The two U.S. officials suggested that the research center north of Damascus was damaged by secondary explosions from munitions in the convoy that was the target Wednesday. The Syrian government has said the research center was the primary target.
Other Western officials and a senior Lebanese official have said that the convoy contained antiaircraft batteries that were destined for Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. The Syrian television footage showed the wreckage of what appeared to be a mobile launcher of the type used to fire SA17 antiaircraft missiles, which are known to be part of Syria’s arsenal.
Of course, the choice of location to strike that weapons convoy may not have been accidental. Damage to the chemical weapons facility is clearly a bonus for Israel whoever did it.  Heh.

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