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Syria threatens retaliation for Israeli attack


February 20. 2013 4:30AM
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BEIRUT — Syria threatened Thursday to retaliate for an Israeli airstrike and its ally Iran said the Jewish state will regret the attack.


Syria sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General stressing the country's right to defend itself, its territory and sovereignty and holding Israel and its supporters accountable.


Israel and those who protect it at the Security Council are fully responsible for the repercussions of this aggression, the letter from Syria's Foreign Ministry said.


U.S. officials said Israel launched a rare airstrike inside Syria on Wednesday. The target was a convoy believed to be carrying anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militant group allied with Syria and Iran.


In Israel, a lawmaker close to hard-line Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stopped short of confirming involvement in the strike. But he hinted that Israel could carry out similar missions in the future.


Israeli leaders in the days leading up to the airstrike had been publicly expressing concern that Syrian President Bashar Assad may be losing his grip on the country and its arsenal of weapons.


Regional security officials said Wednesday that the targeted shipment included sophisticated Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which if acquired by Hezbollah would enable militants to shoot down Israeli jets, helicopters and drones.


The Syrian military denied there was any weapons convoy and said low-flying Israeli jets had crossed into its country over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to bomb a scientific research center near Damascus.


In Iran, the country's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said the Zionist regime will regret its aggression against Syria, Iran state TV said.


The semi-official Fars news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian as saying the raid will have significant implications for Israel.




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