Tensions Rise After Israel Strikes Syria

8:18 AM, May 6, 2013   |    comments
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(BEIRUT) -- Israel is rushing to beef up its rocket defenses on its northern border to shield against possible retaliation after carrying out two airstrikes in Syria over 48 hours.

On Sunday, Israel deployed two batteries of its Iron Dome rocket defense system in the north

A senior Israeli official says the recent airstrikes targeted precision-guided missiles Israel believes were being shipped to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

Syria and its patron Iran have hinted at possible retribution, though the rhetoric in official statements appeared relatively muted.

Damascus is warning that it will "defend its people by all available means." It calls the Israeli attacks a "flagrant violation of international law" that has made the Middle East "more dangerous."

In a letter sent to the U.N., Syria says the attacks aim "to give direct military support to terrorist groups" fighting the government

Despite new concerns about a regional war, Israeli officials signaled they will keep trying to block what they see as an effort by Iran to send sophisticated weapons to Lebanon's Hezbollah militia ahead of a possible collapse of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.  

The head of the Arab League has appealed for aid to strengthen Syrian rebels trying to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Monday he's blasting Israel for carrying out airstrikes on Damascus.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby warns the attacks threaten regional stability. He called on the U.N. Security Council to "immediately move to stop" what he called "Israeli aggressions."

Egypt's also is condemning Israel's airstrikes. In a statement, President Mohammed Morsi's office calls the strikes a violation of international law and accuses Israel of exploiting Syria's civil war. The statement says Egypt "strongly objects" to the bloodshed in Syria and what it says is the Assad regime's use of its military against its people, but it rejects the violation of Syrian sovereignty.



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