Israeli minister implicitly confirms Syria bombing raid

MUNICH, Germany (AFP) - Israel's outgoing Defence Minister Ehud Barak implicitly confirmed on Sunday an Israeli air strike on a military site in Syria.

Barak refrained from a direct confirmation but told the Munich Security Conference that it was "another proof that when we say something we mean it".

"I cannot add anything to what you have read in the newspapers about what happened in Syria several days ago," Barak told participants.

But he added: "It's another proof that when we say something we mean it. We say that we don't think that it should be allowable to bring advanced weapon systems into Lebanon, the Hezbollah from Syria, when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad falls."

The raid on Wednesday targeted surface-to-air missiles and an adjacent military complex believed to house chemical agents, according to a US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Syria has threatened to retaliate.

Two days after the Israeli strike, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said that the United States was increasingly concerned that "chaos" in Syria could allow Hezbollah to obtain sophisticated weapons from the Damascus regime.

In the days leading up to the air raid, Israeli officials cranked up their rhetoric about Syria's weapons stockpile, which includes chemical agents, warning of dire consequences if they end up in the hands of the Iran-allied Hezbollah against which it fought a devastating war in 2006.

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments