Reports: Israel Attacks SA-17 Antiaircraft Shipment

AP quotes defense officials claiming that the target of an Israeli strike at the Syria-Lebanon border was a weapon convoy carrying advanced antiaircraft missiles
Reports: Israel Attacks SA-17 Antiaircraft Shipment

Middle Eastern defense officials were quoted by the news agency AP, claiming that IAF aircraft attacked a weapon convoy at the Syria-Lebanon border, which apparently contained a shipment of highly advanced SA-17 missiles. The advanced missiles were acquired by Syria several years ago and according to the report, the shipment was apparently intended for Hezbollah.

The SA-17 is an advanced antiaircraft missile with a low radar signature, which makes it difficult to target it. It possesses a range of approximately 25 kilometers, and the IAF considers them a danger to its freedom of operation in the region.

Reuters reported earlier that IAF aircraft attacked a target along the Syria-Lebanon border. The US website Al Monitor reported that the target was a weapon convoy in the border region. The Lebanese military reported that four Israeli aircraft circles the skies above south Lebanon during the night. In the past few days, tension has risen over the issue of the transfer of advanced weaponry from Syrian to organizations such as Hezbollah. Earlier this week, several Iron Dome systems were even stationed in the Israeli north, in order to defend the area against potential rocket fire. The IDF and the IAF have not responded to the reports.

Israel is genuinely concerned that very advanced weapons might fall into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The advanced weapons were supplied by Russia to the Assad regime, even after the Syrian civil war erupted, despite Israeli requests to Russia that it not transfer the advanced weaponry, which may make things difficult for IDF activity. Furthermore, Israel is also concerned that Assad will also transfer advanced Yakhont missiles to Hezbollah, which are supersonic, have a range of hundreds of kilometers and possess maximal precision. Such missiles in Hezbollah possession could pose a serious threat to navy vessels, and could even threaten northern offshore gas rigs.

It is important to understand that this is an issue that does not trouble Israel alone: the US also has vast interest in preventing the transfer of Syrian chemical weapons to entities such as Hezbollah or Global Jihad. The US Army apparently has military plans on how to prevent this as well, but it is doubtful if it can fulfill them, especially during a time of administrative change in Washington. The IDF has been concerned for a long while that the Syrian civil war could develop into a war that would include Israel as well, and it is certainly possible that the threats being issued again and again may be materialized eventually – or that Israel will accept the transfer of strategic weapons to the hands of Hezbollah.