Israel 'Coordinated with Terrorists' in Airstrike, Syria Says

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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After their second airstrike on Syria this weekend, the Syrian foreign ministry said Israel coordinated the attack with “terrorists,” including militants linked to al-Qaeda.

The Israeli strike on a military target outside Damascus was its second in a matter of days.

Israeli officials claimed the airstrike launched overnight Thursday near the Lebanon border was an attempt to stop a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles sent from Iran to the militant Lebanese organization Hezbollah.

Three military sites have been targeted, the Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement. A research center at Jamraya, an airport in the al-Dimas area of Damascus and a site in Maysaloun were hit.

"The flagrant Israeli attack on armed forces sites in Syria underlines the co-ordination between 'Israel', terrorist groups and ... the al-Nusra Front," the statement said, referring to the al-Qaeda militants fighting alongside the rebels.

Currently fighting a civil war against rebel forces seeking to oust the Ba’ath Party from power, the Syrian government often refers to rebels as “terrorists.”

"The Israeli attack led to the fall of a number of martyrs and wounded from the ranks of Syrian citizens, and led to widespread destruction in these sites and in the civilian districts near to them,” the statement said. "This leaves no room for doubt Israel is the beneficiary, the mover and sometime the executor of the terrorist acts which Syria is witnessing and which target it as a state and people directly or through its tools inside."

An Israeli army spokeswoman said Sunday morning that two batteries of the Iron Dome missile defense system were moved to the north of the country.

Residents of the Dumar neighborhood of Damascus said the ground shook and the night sky turned red in the attack.

Syrian Information Minister, Omran al-Zohbi, said the airstrikes made the Middle East “more dangerous.”

Al-Zohbi read from a statement after an emergency meeting of the Syrian cabinet was held. He said the attack “opens the door wide to all possibilities” and Syria now has a duty “to defend its people by all available means.”

After the predawn strike, SANA, Syria’s official news agency, reported, “This attack proves the direct involvement of the Israeli occupation in the conspiracy against Syria and its links with terrorist groups in the aggression supported by Western countries and some Gulf countries.”

The attack was the second time Israel targeted the facility in Jamraya, which it raided Jan. 30.

After the first airstrike this week, President Barack Obama said Israel had a right to protect itself, without commenting directly on the attack.

Iran claimed the U.S. was complicit in the airstrike.

“The assault, which was carried out with the US green light, unveils the links between the terrorist mercenaries and their masters of the Zionist regime (Israel),” said Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

The strikes come after the bodies of at least 62 Syrians were found in the Sunni village of Bayda, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Sources: BBC, Raw Story