Israeli fighter-jets targeted a Syrian military installation early Saturday morning, causing extensive damage to a number of hangars and buildings, that according to an intelligence source “were used by ‘Iranian elements’ for the purpose of manufacturing medium-range missiles.” The bombardment began around 2AM on Saturday, when Israeli fighter-planes launched a number of air-to-surface missiles from the skies of neighboring Lebanon toward installations located near the city of Masyaf in the Western part of the central Hama Region. According to local Syrian sources, a number of forces were killed in the alleged Israeli strike, which the London-based ‘Syrian observatory for Human Rights’ identified as ‘Iranian forces and their proxy militants.’ According to a Syrian military source who was quoted by the state media agency SANA, ‘Syrian air defenses intercepted the hostile missiles and downed some of them before reaching their targets.” The military source confirmed the “destruction of some buildings,” yet stopped-short from providing additional details. A day after the attack, however, the Israeli intelligence company Image-Sat-International released satellite images that purported to show the targeted military installation. One of the images also shows a number of surface-to-air batteries, including the advanced Syrian-operated S-300 anti-missile systems, as well as the most-advanced Russian-operated S-400 system. While it is clear that the Syrian forces used their advanced anti-missile system to try and thwart the Israeli bombardment, there is no indication of whether they received any assistance from their Russian counterparts. While the IDF spokesperson’s unit refused to respond to the reported strike; Incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to Israel’s alleged responsibility. In an address the Israeli leader made during a special ceremony for bereaved families of IDF soldiers, Netanyahu reiterated Jerusalem’s continued determination to defend the Jewish state from all of its enemies. “We are determined to defend our land – even in the face of our greatest and bitterest of foes, who inscribe our destruction on their banners. We are not deterred by struggle, knowing that we fight against those who seek our lives. Our spirit is strong, our strength is steadfast. We do not rush to battle. Who like us knows that the cost of war is terrible? But let no one misunderstand us – when the security of Israel is at stake, we act with all our strength. Whoever puts us in danger puts himself in far greater danger.”/ “We will continue to act on all fronts, including in the north, because we are not prepared to allow anybody to entrench in strength and endanger the State of Israel. Strength is the guarantee of our existence, and it is the essential and fundamental condition in achieving peace with our neighbors,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Israel’s National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat held a meeting with his American Counterpart John Bolton. Prior to their meeting, Trump’s National Security Advisor released a statement on his twitter account, in which he said that their discussions would focus on the “shared (Israeli-American) commitment to countering Iranian malign activity & other destabilizing actors in the Middle East and around the world.” According to domestic Israeli reports, the two security advisers will also talk about the growing concern in the United States over Chinese investment in Israeli infrastructure projects. That after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a stark warning to Israel – last month – that the close security cooperation between Washington and Jerusalem could be reduced over Israel’s growing cooperation with China.