Syrian officials say Israeli planes struck inside their nation’s borders Wednesday, prompting fears that the 2-year-old civil conflict in the country could spread, The New York Times reports.
“A statement by the Syrian military said a scientific research facility in the Damascus suburbs had been hit, but the precise target was unclear,” the Times writes. “Earlier news reports, confirmed by an American official in Washington, said the Israelis were targeting a truck convoy inside Syria that was bound for Lebanon.”
The statement, announced on state television, said an unidentified number of Israeli jets flying below radar killed two people and caused “huge material damage” when they struck the facility.
“Israeli warplanes violated our airspace at dawn, bombing directly one of the research scientific centers in the Jimraya district in rural Damascus,” the statement said, denouncing the alleged strike as a “breach of Syrian sovereignty.”
Israeli officials declined to comment on the reports. The two countries have endured an uneasy peace lasting five years amid a “technical state of war,” according to the Times, along their border. “Jerusalem has long maintained a policy of silence on pre-emptive military strikes,” the newspaper notes.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
The New York Times:
[T]he Israelis have warned in recent days about what they called the threat of chemical or advanced conventional weapons leaking from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon or into the hands of extremist Islamic rebel groups as a result of the turmoil in Syria.
The Lebanese Army said in a statement on Wednesday that Israeli warplanes had carried out two sorties, circling over Lebanon for hours on Tuesday and before dawn on Wednesday, but made no mention of any attacks.