The IDF has been keeping more than a watchful eye on Syria’s chemical arsenal, its attendant dispersal delivery systems and long-range “game changers”, as they attempt to make their way to Lebanon’s Hezbollah. This is NO secret.
In tandem, Iran’s militia terror forces are fighting alongside Assad’s, and this is not news either. But you know war is just around the corner when the mullah’s thugs brazenly ensconce themselves within spitting distance of Israel’s Golan border, daring the IDF to do a damn thing about it. As such, thousands of IDF reservists were called up to “rehearse” their moves, and today, May 5, will “showcase” their skills alongside said war front. They will do Israel proud – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/03/20/im-an-israeli-soldier-a-youtube-presentation-by-latma-tv-adina-kutnicki/, unlike its (often) limp-wristed political leadership.
Bear in mind that the IDF/IAF has been active on this front, in one way or another – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/02/10/the-iaf-takes-center-stage-as-the-civil-war-in-syria-heats-up-flying-over-lebanon-syria-too-straddling-both-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/…preparing for the inevitable showdown.
The Arkia airline Sunday afternoon suspended flights from Haifa to Eilat, informing travelers that the airspace of northern Israel has been closed until further notice due to the high tension on its northern borders.
Russian and Iranian media Sunday, May 5, predicted full-scale Middle East hostilities involving Israel erupting in the coming hours, in the wake of Israel’s renewed strikes against Iranian missiles bound for Hizballah and other targets around Damascus. Russian sources reported rumors that President Bashar Assad was on the point of declaring war on Israel.
Russia Today claimed that an Israeli rocket strike Sunday caused heavy Syrian casualties – according to rumors, at least 300 members of the Syrian Army’s 501st Unit dead and hundreds filling four Damascus hospitals. DEBKAfile: If this is confirmed, then the unit which operates the chemical weapon facility at the Barzeh district north of Damascus at the foot of Mt. Qassioun was hit.
The same Russian source reported that Syrian security forces cordoned off the sites of the explosions against entry. Residents reported after the blasts that the ground moved with the force of a 4 magnitude earthquake.
Shortly after the Israel attacks in the Damascus area Sunday, the IDF posted additional Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in Haifa and Safed to defend those northern towns against incoming Syrian and Hizballah rockets.
Low-ranking Syrian and Iranian officials responded to the Israeli attacks on Syria: Deputy Information minister His Al-Yiftah commented by saying that “a new foreign element had entered the Syrian conflict overnight and this would cause war.”
In Tehran, an Iranian foreign ministry official condemned “Israeli aggression on Syria and accused Israel of fomenting instability and ethnic discord in the region.
An Israeli official confirmed to AFP that Israeli had Sunday conducted a second round of strikes in three days on advanced weapons including Iranian F-110 weapons bound for Hizballah in transit at Damascus international airport. Syrian TV reported only an attack on the Jamraya military research center just north of Damascus. This was the same facility which Israeli planes attacked in January.
American sources reported Israeli air strikes Saturday, May 4, against a number of targets in Syria including a chemical weapons depot outside Damascus. They were carried out remotely from Lebanese air space and the Golan starting Friday and continuing up until early Saturday, May 3. Neither Damascus nor Jerusalem has yet confirmed the attacks in which according to US sources 16 IAF warplanes took part. According to one report, Israeli jets were seen early Saturday circling over Assad’s presidential compound in Damascus before moving on to target a weapons site. The Israeli jets reportedly received fire but returned to base unscathed.
Some sources say the target attacked was a convoy transporting chemical arms to the Lebanese Hizballah, which Israeli leaders have vowed to prevent.
DEBKAfile’s military sources say the start of the Israeli air force operation can be fixed by the sirens set off over the Golan Friday afternoon and again before dawn Saturday. The IDF spokesman said they were set off by a “technical glitch.” They now prove to have been triggered automatically by the Israeli aerial movements.
Friday, Lebanon reported a number of Israeli warplane intrusions of its air space.
DEBKAfile reported earlier that this week, thousands of Basij militiamen landed in Syria, establishing an Iranian military presence opposite Israel from Syria as well as Lebanon. They joined a comparable number of Hizballah militiamen fighting for the Bashar regime.
See this earlier DEBKAfile report:
US officials recently gave Israel a video demonstration of the new features which enable its biggest bunker buster bomb (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) to destroy Iran’s underground uranium enrichment plant at Fordo near Qom, in a bid to dissuade Israel from a unilateral attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
This is reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The video displayed the improved bomb, which Israel does not have, as hitting the ground near its target and setting off a massive underground explosion.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that this videotaped demonstration was in line with the Obama administration’s latest campaign to convince Israel that the US is getting ready to strike Iran itself.
In actual fact, the improved American MOP is not news – any more than the Israeli Air Force’s possession of bombs capable of penetrating the Fordo underground plant. This capability has given Israeli officials the confidence to assert that Israel can destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities on its own.
What Washington has in common with Jerusalem is that while both make no secret of their capabilities – and Israeli leaders are also free with threatening rhetoric – neither is actually exercising them.
The only parties on the move are Iran and Hizballah.
At the end of the week, DEBKAfile’s military sources report that both established a military presence in Syria and Lebanon, just across Israel’s two northern borders. An Iranian airlift placed Iranian boots on the ground in Syria for the first time in more than two years of its civil war. It was also the first time Israel had ever seen uniformed Iranian soldiers present at close quarters on the soil of a close neighbor.
The arrivals are members of the violent Basij volunteer militia which is trained in urban combat tactics for suppressing anti-regime unrest in Iranian cities. They are the first Iranian troops to confront Syrian rebels in combat. Roughly 6,000-8,000 militiamen have arrived so far – a figure comparable to the size of the Hizhballah elite units fighting for Bashar Assad in Syria.
The Basij militiamen were stationed in Damascus and sent to guard Syrian Shiite border villages situated opposite Hizballah-controlled South Lebanon. This deployment has placed Iranian troops opposite the intersection of the Israeli, Syrian and Lebanese borders.
Iran’s expanding military intervention in Syria accounts partly for this week’s surprise call-up of thousands of Israeli reservists for duty on the country’s northern borders. Although they were sent home after 24 hours to disguise their mission and calm rising tensions, they were in fact ordered to report back Sunday, May 5. These reservists will then pick up the gear and weapons needed for real combat, and take up positions along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.
Sirens blared over parts of the Golan Friday, May 3, their sensors touched off by the preparations for these military movements. The official pretext offered of a “technical glitch” was about as convincing as the Israeli military spokesman’s attempt to deny knowing who sent a drone from Beirut towards Israel on April 25.
The sirens on the Golan were apparently not loud enough to be heard in Washington and Jerusalem.
The Israeli official is quoted as confirming an Israeli Air Force strike on Syria targeting a shipment of advanced weapons. Israeli leaders have vowed to do everything necessary to prevent advanced weapons, including anti-air S-17 missiles and Scuds, or unconventional weapons, such as chemicals, being sent out of Syria and reaching the Lebanese Hizballah.
While readers of this blog realize – or they should – that Israel’s political leaders leave much to be desired (and this is an understatement!), but when it comes to the IDF, let us just say that the outcome will be definitive, unlike in 2006 when they left (due to a lack of backbone, thus hewing to Washington’s dictates) Hezbollah standing, despite the rubble surrounding them. The leadership finally realize the jig is up, if they leave the enemy intact. After all, due to the Pyromaniac-in-Chief’s Mid East fires (http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/03/31/al-qaeda-bellies-up-to-israels-northern-golan-border-war-drums-heating-up-how-did-this-happen-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/), chemical weapons are now in full play, even as Jerusalem’s leaders pretend that Barack HUSSEIN Obama has their back!
Israeli military activity is reported in Lebanon Saturday, May 4 and not just over Syria.
US sources said earlier Israeli warplanes had struck targets in Syria including a chemical weapons depot outside Damascus, firing missiles remotely from Lebanese air space and the Golan starting Friday and continuing up until early Saturday, May 3. An Israeli spokesman confirmed only an air strike in Syria against a shipment of long-range surface missiles.
The latest reports from Lebanon point to expanding Israeli military activity inside Lebanon as well.
They describe Israeli warplanes as flying “at a medium altitude over the Eastern and Western Mountain ranges of the Beqaa Valley.” DEBKAfile: Hizballah strongholds are located in this region which is close to the Syrian border. Other warplanes were described as heading north over Beirut.
One Lebanese source claimed Israeli ground troops had descended from the Mt. Dov-Hermon range, crossed the Lebanese border and entered the Shebaa Farms region.
None of these reports are confirmed by Israel, Lebanon or Syria. But DEBKAfilenotes that if Israeli troops have indeed penetrated Lebanon to a depth of 5-7 kilometers and reached the Shebaa Farms, they have taken up positions opposite the 30 Syrian Shiite villages guarded by incoming Iranian elite Basij militiamen.
DEBKAfile reported exclusively Friday that thousands of Basij militiamen had just been airlifted from Iran to Syria, establishing an Iranian military presence opposite Israel from Syria as well as Lebanon. They joined a comparable number of Hizballah militiamen fighting for the Bashar regime.
Given the rush of adverse military developments across Israel’s northern borders, its operations in Syria and Lebanon are expected to continue and even expand.
This is also indicated by last week’s mobilization of thousands of reservists for an event termed by the IDF spokesman “a military exercise” beginning Sunday, May 5 along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.
The spokesman was clearly trying to misdirect attention from Israel’s preparations for an important military operation by announcing a routine drill.
DEBKAfile adds: The initial claim by Syria, Iran and Hizballah of ignorance of any Israeli action is unlikely to hold up for long. They might keep up the act if the Israeli strike turned out to be a one-off against a single target – the picture the “Israeli official” tried to present after the event.
But if there is more to come, Bashar Assad, Ali Khamenei and Hassan Nasrallah will not let Israel go unchallenged. This threesome is undoubtedly on the phone at this moment working on their response.
Some of the earlier reports by US media claimed Israeli jets were seen Saturday before dawn circling over Assad’s presidential compound in Damascus before moving on to target a weapons site. The Israeli jets reportedly received fire but returned to base unscathed.
DEBKAfile’s military sources added that the start of the Israeli air force operation could have been fixed precisely by the sirens which went off suddenly over the Golan Friday afternoon and again before dawn Saturday. The IDF spokesman said they were set off by a “technical glitch.” They now prove to have been triggered automatically by Israeli aerial movements. For five days, Lebanon has been reporting Israeli warplane intrusions of its air space.