Entries in Air Strike (10)


Amid New Reports of Massacres, Israel Strikes Syria

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEL AVIV, Israel) -- Israeli warplanes struck weapons inside Syria that were bound for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, American and Israeli officials say.

The attack, which reportedly took place Friday morning, was the second such strike this year, further raising fears that Syria's two-year civil war could spill over into neighboring countries.

News of the strike comes as graphic evidence emerges of what a watchdog group says are scores of deaths in fighting and mass executions by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in and around the coastal city of Baniyas.

Hundreds are reportedly fleeing amid fears of further sectarian-fueled violence.

The Israeli Prime Minister's office and military declined to comment on the strike, which is the standard response following a secret operation. Israel has repeatedly warned that it would not hesitate to act to prevent its enemies from getting their hands on weapons, particularly chemical weapons.

Syrian state media made no mention of the strike and Syria's ambassador to the United Nations said he was not aware of any attack.

In January, Syrian officials responded quickly when Israeli warplanes are believed to have targeted a convoy carrying Russian-made SA-17 surface-to-air missiles, which were also said to be bound for Hezbollah.

There was no outright claim of responsibility by Israel, but days after that strike, then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak said "That is another proof that when we say something we mean it. We say that we don't think it should be allowable to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon."

A top Israeli defense official dismissed the confirmation of the Friday strike, but not the strike itself.

"I don't know what or who confirmed what, who are these sources?" asked Amos Gilad, a senior strategist in the ministry. "In my book only the [military] spokesperson unit is official."

There is no suggestion that any of the weapons struck allegedly were chemical weapons and Gilad said he believes Hezbollah doesn't want chemical weapons.

"Syria has large amounts of chemical weaponry and missiles. Everything there is under [regime] control," Gilad said, according to Israeli reports. "Hezbollah does not have chemical weaponry. We have ways of knowing.

"They are not keen to take weaponry like this, preferring systems that can cover all of the country [of Israel]," he added, referring to the estimated 60,000 rockets in Hezbollah's arsenal.

The State Department said today that is it "appalled" by reports of scores killed in the Sunni Muslim town of al Bayda, just south of Baniyas, by government forces and loyalist militiamen known as "shabiha" who largely belong to Assad's Alawite sect.

 The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog group said at least 51 people, including women and children, were summarily executed on Thursday in al Bayda.

That was followed by reports of more deaths in the Ras-al-Nabaa neighborhood of Baniyas.

The SOHR said hundreds of Sunni families were fleeing south to the port city of Tartous to escape what they said was sectarian killing by the regime.

State television said there were operations in the area that "drove back several terrorist groups" and showed rows of weapons it said had been seized from rebels. Rebel groups led by extremist fighters had been mounting operations in that area.

Also on Saturday, Assad visited Damascus University to greet students and inaugurate a statue for student "martyrs" of the two-year conflict. A photo showed the Syrian president getting a warm reception from students reaching out their hands to greet him.

The display of confidence was his second public event this week: On May Day, he thanked workers at a Damascus power plant.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Israel Makes Indirect Admission to Air Strike in Syria

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MUNICH) -- Israel finally delivered a public yet coy statement on Sunday about last week's assault on a truck convoy inside Syria.

At a security conference in Munich, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak insisted he could not "add anything to what you have read in the newspapers about what happened in Syria several days ago," seemingly continuing his government’s silence on the issue.

However, Barak then told reporters, "It's another proof that when we say something we mean it.  We say that we don't think that it should be allowable to bring advanced weapon systems into Lebanon, the Hezbollah from Syria, when [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad falls."

U.S. and Western officials said that Israeli war jets hit the convoy that were carrying surface-to-air missiles from Syria to Hezbollah, a powerful political force in Lebanon and Israel's sworn enemy.  The action was condemned by Syria, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia.

According to Syria's official news agency SANA, Israel struck a military research center northeast of the capital that left several people dead and destroyed part of the facility.

Later, Syrian President al-Assad accused Israel of attempting to wreak havoc in his country in the wake of last week's raid by its war jets.

In his first public comments about the assault, al-Assad argued the attack "unmasked the true role Israel is destabilize and weaken Syria."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Syria and Allies Condemn Israeli Air Strike

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There was still no word from the Israeli government Thursday confirming an air strike earlier in the week that targeted a truck convoy in Syria that U.S. officials say was carrying missiles to the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

However, Syria, Iran, Russia and the Hezbollah have all condemned the attack, which Damascus initially claimed was an assault against a scientific research facility outside the capital.

The Hezbollah denied that it was receiving arms shipments from its ally, while the Iranian government warned Israel's action would cause "grave consequences for Tel Aviv."

Moscow, another staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, added that the attack "blatantly violates the United Nations Charter and is unacceptable and unjustified, whatever its motives."

According to U.S. officials, Syria was transporting SA-17s to Lebanon.  Meanwhile, there was confusion over whether the Israelis actually attacked a Syrian facility as well as the truck convoy.

In spite of the potential for the two-year Syrian conflict to escalate because of the incident, it's expected that Israel will conduct future preemptive strikes to protect its borders.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Israel and Syria Differ on Target of Israeli Air Strike

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- In spite of evidence to the contrary, the Syrian government on Wednesday accused Israel of conducting an air strike against one of its military facilities in Damascus the day before.

According to a report by Syria's official news service, two workers were killed while the alleged attack "caused significant material damage and the destruction of the complex."

The story contradicts that of U.S. and regional officials who say that Israeli war jets actually bombed a truck convoy suspected of carrying missiles near Syria's border with Lebanon.

While the Israelis would not comment on the report, its leaders have been concerned that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is shipping weapons to Hezbollah, the ruling Islamic militant faction in Lebanon that has called for the destruction of Israel.

Hezbollah has denied that it was preparing to receive any new arms from Damascus.

Regardless of which account is true, the incident could trigger a widening of the two-year Syrian conflict that has cost more than 60,000 lives.  Until this week, Israel has limited its engagement in the civil war, only firing at a Syrian artillery vehicle last year when Syrian mortar shells landed in the Golan Heights.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Israeli Air Strike Kills Top Islamic Jihad Commander

MAJDI FATHI/AFP/Getty Images(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) -- An Israeli strike on a Gaza City high-rise Monday has killed one of the top militant leaders of Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian militant group said.

The second strike in two days on the downtown Gaza City building that houses the Hamas TV station, Al Aqsa, has killed Ramez Harb, who is a leading figure in the Al Quds Brigades militant wing, according to a text message Islamic Jihad sent to reporters.

It is also the second high profile commander taken out in the Israeli offensive, which began six days ago with a missile strike that killed Ahmed Jibari, Hamas' top military commander.

On Monday, mourners buried the 11 victims of an Israeli air strike on Sunday, the single deadliest incident since the escalation between Hamas and Israel began last Wednesday.  Among the dead were nine members of the Daloo family, killed when an Israeli warplane targeted their home in Gaza City while trying to kill a Hamas rocket maker, whose fate is unknown.

Palestinian deaths climbed to more than 90 on Monday when four more, including two children, were killed in a strike on a sports stadium the Israel Defense Forces said was being used to launch rockets.  Gaza health officials said half of those killed were children, women or elderly men.

With the death toll rising, Egypt accelerated efforts to broker a ceasefire, but so far the two sides are far apart.  Egypt is being supported by Qatar and Turkey in its peacemaking mission and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to arrive at the talks later Monday.

Israel carried out 80 air strikes Monday morning, down from previous morning totals.  There were 75 militant rocket launches, the Israeli military said, also a relatively low tally.

The Israel Defense Forces said that since Wednesday, around 1,100 strikes had been carried out in Gaza while militants have launched about 1,000 rockets towards Israel.

Three Israeli civilians died from militant rocket fire in one attack Thursday and dozens have been wounded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


No Confirmation Yet on Whether Pakistani Militant Is Actually Dead

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The "is he or isn't he dead" debate about a leading Pakistani militant continued on Monday as U.S. forces in Afghanistan could not verify if Badruddin Haqqani, the son of the founder of the Haqqani network, was killed in an air strike late last week.

The Afghans and Pakistanis seem to believe it's true while the Taliban says he's still alive.

Eliminating Badruddin Haqqani would definitely impair the group that bears his father's name because the militant has been blamed for coordinating attacks in Kabul and organizing other aspects of the criminal-terrorist enterprise, including kidnappings and suicide bombings, that has ties to both the Taliban and al Qaeda.

The Haqqani network, which was formed in Pakistan, has spread its activities to Afghanistan and is believed to be an even bigger threat to the stability of the government than the Taliban.

While Badruddin Haqqani's death, if true, is a plus, it's expected that his place would be taken over by an older brother.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Major Al Qaeda Figure Killed in Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Al Qaeda's second-in-command in Afghanistan was killed Sunday during what was described as a joint military operation involving coalition and Afghan forces.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed the death on Tuesday of Sakhr al-Taifi along with another al Qaeda operative.  Both were killed as the result of a NATO air strike in eastern Kunar province.

Al-Taifi, also known as Musthaq and Nasim, was in charge of leading foreign insurgents in Afghanistan and directing attacks on U.S., NATO and Afghan forces.

According to a statement released by the ISAF, al-Taifi frequently traveled between Afghanistan and Pakistan to carry out the commands of senior al Qaeda leadership.

The ISAF stated that no civilians died in the targeted strike on the al Qaeda militant.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pakistan Threatens More Punitive Action Against US for Deadly Airstrike

Photos [dot] com/George Doyle/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- Pakistan's prime minister said Monday that the U.S. can forget about "business as usual" following last week's alleged NATO strike against Pakistani forces that left at least 24 soldiers dead.

According to a Pakistani spokesman, the air strike went on for two hours and didn't stop even after military officials alerted NATO about what was taking place.

In remarks broadcast on Pakistani networks, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said, "Business as usual will not be there.  We have to have something bigger that satisfies my nation and entire country."

The Pakistani Cabinet is meeting Tuesday to discuss what further actions will be taken.  Since Saturday, Pakistan has closed off a major supply route used by coalition forces into Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Islamabad has demanded that the U.S. shut down its base in Afghanistan that is used to launch unmanned drone strikes into Pakistan to kill Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders.

Relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have been tense since a CIA operative shot dead two Pakistani men he claimed were trying to rob him last January.  The Navy SEALS raid of Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad that killed the al Qaeda leader last May also infuriated Islamabad since the government was not informed of the plans beforehand.

U.S. Central Command said it would conduct a thorough probe of the latest incident.  The investigation will also take into account an Afghan report that a joint combat force came under fire by the Pakistanis, and that prompted the attack -- a charge Islamabad has rejected.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NATO Strike Kills Gadhafi Son, Libya Says

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- A NATO attack on Moammar Gadhafi's compound in the capital city of Tripoli killed the Libyan leader's youngest son, according to a government spokesman.

"The attack resulted in the martyrdom of brother Saif al-Arab Muammar Gaddafi, 29 years old, and three of the leader's grandchildren," government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said, according to BBC News.

The Libyan spokesman said Col. Gadhafi was at the same compound with his wife, friends, and other relatives Saturday when the attack occurred, but escaped unharmed.

"This was a direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country," the spokesman said, according to the BBC.

NATO confirmed a strike on Gadhafi's compound and acknowledged media reports regarding the deaths of Gadhafi's son and grandchildren, but in a statement provided to ABC News, Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard stressed "we do not target individuals."

He did not confirm the identities of the deceased.

“We regret all loss of life," Brouchard said, "especially the innocent civilians being harmed as a result of the ongoing conflict."

The city of Benghazi broke into celebratory gunfire once rebels learned of the reported deaths.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Israeli Air Force Strikes Gaza

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- The Israeli Army deployed an air strike in Gaza Thursday in response to Wednesday's rocket attack on southern Israel.

The Israeli Air Force struck what it's calling two terror targets in Gaza.  A local report describes one of these locations as a Hamas training camp.  Palestinian sources say the attack has left four injured, and that three spots, not two, were hit.

Militants in Gaza have increased their rocket and mortar attacks on Israel since the direct peace talks were relaunched, with 30 such attacks since September.  On Wednesday, militants fired two qassam rockets on Israel.  One rocket landed in the Negev region, but didn't cause any injuries.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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