Syria, Iran, Denounce Israeli Aggression against Unarmed Missiles
Damascus, Syria (AP) – Following an Israeli air attack on a Syrian military convoy headed toward Lebanon, the Assad government and Iranian President Ahmadinejad condemned Israel’s “aggression” against the surface-to-air missiles the convoy was transporting.
“The Zionist regime has once again demonstrated its utter disregard for basic decency,” read a statement issued by Syrian President Basher Assad’s office, referring to Israel. “The innocent missiles were not armed with missiles. This is yet another gross Zionist violation of international law. The international community must take real steps to address this travesty.”
Iran, a staunch supporter of the beleaguered Assad government, also spoke out against Israel. In an address at a political function, President Ahmadinejad likened the preemptive strike to a snake uncoiling in pursuit of a victim, only to be crushed by a passing tank. “The cruelty of the Zionists against harmless missiles knows no bounds. Only a country with no moral compass would direct its forces against armaments that were not carrying even light ammunition, nor a single hand grenade. This vicious assault exposes the Zionists for what they are.”
US and Israeli experts believe the convoy was ferrying sophisticated Russian-made SA-17 missiles, which could pose significant risk for Israeli air operations over Lebanon. The likely recipient, they say, is Hezbollah, the militant Shiite movement that controls much of Lebanon and fought a war with Israel 2006. The movement also condemned the assault, calling it, “a betrayal of human values by the Zionist beast that would deprive Lebanon of its sovereign right to shoot down aircraft trying to prevent us from killing Zionists.” Hezbollah has been replenishing its arsenal of missiles, thousands of which were launched at Israeli towns and cities during the war.
This is not the first time Israeli aircraft have attacked unarmed targets inside Syria. In 2007 the Israel Air Force attacked and destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria. At the time, the reactor had yet to receive its first shipment of uranium, which, at the time, experts said called into question whether Israel was playing fair. Israel has never commented on the attack and Syria never officially acknowledged it, even leveling the site before international inspectors could examine it, seeking to emphasize just how innocent and peaceful the site was.
In a similar case, Israel has never acknowledged an air attack that destroyed a suspected weapons factory in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, last year. The factory was undefended, prompting international outrage at Israel’s unprovoked aggression. Hamas, the Islamist militant faction that runs the Gaza Strip, is widely believed to be the intended user of the weapons supplied originally by Iran for use against Israel. At the time, a spokesman for the government of Sudan decried the Israeli action, calling it, “an unprovoked, evil attack on rockets and armaments that were just sitting there, not harming anyone.”
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