02/25/2014, 00.00
ISRAEL - SYRIA-LEBANON

Israeli air force strikes Hezbollah bases on Syrian border

Paul Dakiki
The targeted area in the Bekaa Valley is used by Hezbollah to store weapons and train troops fighting for Assad. Israel fears an major technological shift in the weapons used by the Shiite militant movement.

Beirut ( AsiaNews) - The Israeli air force carried out a series of targeted air raids against Hezbollah bases on the Lebanese- Syrian border. Syrian and Lebanese sources have reported the strikes although both Hezbollah and Israel remain silent on the incident.

Residents in Nabi Sheet, in the Bekaa Valley (see photo), near the border, say they saw planes fly over the area and launch bombs that have rocked their homes. Nabi Chit is considered a Hezbollah stronghold, home to the Shiite militant movement's arms depots and training barracks.

This was the first Israeli air raid on Lebanon in 2014. Last year, according to some NGOs, there were at least six raids, all in Syria, targeting Hezbollah military supplies.

Israel has not officially commented on the raid, but the Israeli military authorities have often stated that they will never allow a transfer of modern weaponry to Hezbollah. The Lebanese movement claim to want to fight against Israel in favor of the Palestinians.

In the violent civil and regional war that has engulfed Syria for three over years, Hezbollah militants are fighting alongside Damascus. In recent weeks, Hezbollah has focused its efforts on Yabroud, a stronghold of anti- Assad rebels, in the Qalamoun Mountains, on the border with Lebanon. According to Shiite militants, the car bombs used in the attacks that are rocking the relationship between Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon originate in Yabroud.

Israel has always been largely neutral regarding the Syrian issue, but it has struck several military targets in the fear that Hezbollah is strengthening its arsenal. In addition, Israel is worried about Iranian influence in the region and sees Tehran's nuclear program "the greatest threat to world security". Iran denies that the development of its nuclear program has military purposes.

 

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