Israel Hints it Was Responsible for Syria Strike

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 3 2013 2:02 PM

Did Israel Just Acknowledge it Was Responsible for Syria Airstrike?  

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Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrives at the 49th Munich Security Conference

Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images

The Israeli government has kept mum since Wednesday’s mysterious airstrike on Syria that U.S. officials claimed targeted weapons bound for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. But on Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak became the first government official to talk about the strike and he seemed to suggest something everyone suspected: Israel was the one responsible.

“I cannot add anything to what you have read in the newspapers about what happened in Syria several days ago,” Barak told a security conference in Munich, according to the Associated Press. “I keep telling frankly that we said—and that's proof when we say something we mean it— we say that we don’t think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon.” He spoke in English so there’s no chance of a lost-in-translation moment.

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Syria insists Israeli jets hit a military research center and, in his first comments since the strike, President Bashar al-Assad accused Israel of trying to “destabilize" his country, reports the BBC. Suggesting Tehran could help retaliate, a senior Iranian commander warned Sunday that Syria’s response to the strike will send Israel “into a coma,” according to Iran’s PressTV.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.