Reports: Israel Strikes Convoy at Lebanon-Syria Border

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 30 2013 12:32 PM

Israel Reportedly Strikes Convoy at Lebanon-Syria Border

An Israeli F-15 fighter jet is refueled by a Boeing 707 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots in the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beersheva.
An Israeli F-15 fighter jet is refueled by a Boeing 707 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots in the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beersheva.

Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli warplanes struck a target on the Syria-Lebanon border overnight, according to unnamed security sources cited by several news agencies. 

The target was reportedly a convoy, carrying weapons. It's unclear on which side of the border the strike took place. That'd be a pretty important piece of information to nail down: An airstrike inside Syria would be much more diplomatically dicey for Israel, all but guaranteeing some sort of response from Iran. Both Reuters and the AFP have multiple sources relaying conflicting information on where the strike occurred, but the Associated Press, citing both regional and U.S. sources, says the attack was inside Syria.

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Haaretz, in their live-blog of the reported strike, notes that the Israeli Defense Force is so far refusing to confirm or deny the strike. According to the Israeli paper, Lebanese media described three separate violations of the country's airspace by Israeli jets just before the reported attack, following a week of "increased activity" by Israeli warplanes. Lebanese security officials told the paper that there was no evidence of an airstrike on their side of the border.

Although specific, confirmed, information on the reported incident is less than forthcoming, the motive behind it seems pretty clear: Israel has recently publicly voiced concern over the possibility of Hezbollah gaining access to Syria's stockpile of missiles and chemical weapons. And as the Associated Press reported, Israel was apparently planning on hitting a weapons shipment to the militant group that included SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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