Regional and U.S. officials confirmed Israel bombed a suspected shipment of surface-to-air missiles in Syria on Wednesday. The strike targeted a convoy of trucks moving near the border between Lebanon and Syria that was carrying Russian-made missiles to Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Iran-backed terrorist group. Israeli officials declined to comment on the report, and to a Syrian allegation that Israel had bombed a Syrian military facility.
The strike comes only a few days after an Iranian official announced that any attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran. Some security analysts estimate that Israel took a calculated risk that Syria's government, strained by its own internal war, would choose not to retaliate, and Hezbollah and Iran—both facing coming elections and financial challenges—would also be unlikely to strike back at Israel now.
In addition to taking out weapons that could be used by Hezbollah against Israeli warplanes in a future conflict, Israel’s strike sent a message of warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran against attempting to transfer any chemical or biological weapons to Hezbollah.
Syria maintained that the accounts of a strike on an arms convoy near the country's border with Lebanon were wrong.