"We're not commenting on these
reports," an Israeli Defence Ministry spokesman said. The government has
not commented publicly on at least three attacks on Syria earlier this year.
Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he thought
that Israel had indeed carried out such a strike. He stressed that he
was not entirely certain, however.
Israel has repeatedly warned that it is prepared to use force to prevent advanced weapons, notably from Iran, reaching Hezbollah, which hit northern Israel with hundreds of rockets during a month-long war in 2006.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collates reports from
opposition activists, said late on Wednesday that there had been an
explosion at an air defence base near Jableh, on the Mediterranean coast
south of Latakia.
Lebanese military said six Israeli jets had flown over Lebanese
territory on Wednesday. Israeli aerial incursions over Lebanon are
frequent, but such high numbers have in the past sometimes been an
indication of military strikes against Syria.
Former Syrian intelligence agent Afaq Ahmad, a defector now in exile in France, told Reuters that contacts of his inside Syria, including in Latakia province, told him Russian-made ballistic missiles had been kept at the site that was attacked.
Syria's failure to retaliate after previous Israeli action, Ahmad said:
"Israel knows Assad has lost the ability to respond ... So it has been
engaging in unannounced attacks on the weapons that could pose the most
threat in the hands of Assad or if they are transferred to Hezbollah."
struck Syrian targets near Damascus in January and twice in May and was
suspected of being behind the destruction of a naval installation near
Latakia in July.
The Israeli government says Iran,
the main sponsor of both Assad and Hezbollah, is arming the Lebanese
group. Israel, which sees Iran as bent on destroying the Jewish state,
has threatened to use force against an Iranian nuclear program which
Tehran denies is intended to produce atomic weapons.
by Khaled Oweis in Amman, Dan Williams and Crispian Balmer in Jerusalem
and Dominic Evans in Beirut; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by