Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Israel signals launching airstrikes against Syria Research center also hit French airstrikes hit northern Mali 6 suspected bombers arrested Suicide bomber kills 36
MUNICH -- Israel's defense minister strongly signaled Sunday that his country was behind an airstrike in Syria last week, telling a high profile security conference that Israeli threats to take pre-emptive action against its enemies are not empty. "We mean it," Ehud Barak declared.
Israel has not officially confirmed its planes attacked a site near Damascus, targeting ground-to-air missiles apparently heading for Lebanon. For years, Israel has been charging that Syrian President Bashar Assad and Iran have been arming Hezbollah, which fought a monthlong war against Israel in 2006.
U.S. officials say the target was a convoy of sophisticated Russian SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles. In his comments Sunday in Munich, Barak came close to confirming that his country was behind the airstrike.
"I cannot add anything to what you have read in the newspapers about what happened in Syria several days ago," Barak told the gathering of top diplomats and defense officials from around the world. Then he went on to say, "I keep telling frankly that we said -- and that's proof when we said something we mean it -- we say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon."
WASHINGTON -- The Israeli attack last week on a Syrian convoy of anti-aircraft weapons appears to have also hit the country's main research center for work on biological and chemical weapons, according to U.S. officials who are sorting through intelligence reports.
While the main target of the attack Wednesday appears to have been the weapons and their launchers -- which the Israelis feared were about to be moved to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon -- video shown on Syrian television appears to back up assertions that the research center north of Damascus was also damaged.
That complex, the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, has been the target of U.S. and Western sanctions for more than a decade because of intelligence suggesting that it was the training site for engineers who worked on chemical and biological weaponry.
GOSSI, Mali -- French troops launched airstrikes on Islamic militant training camps and arms depots around Kidal and Tessalit in Mali's far north, defense officials said Sunday, as the first supply convoy of food, fuel and parts to eastern Mali headed across the country.
French planes pounded extremist training camps as well as arms and fuel depots from Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday, according to French army Col. Thierry Burkhard. He said 30 planes were used in the operation.
The French intervened in Mali on Jan. 11 to stem the advance of the al-Qaida-linked fighters.
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan police on Sunday arrested six men and seized suicide vests, assault rifles and more than 50 hand grenades during a raid on a residential building in central Kabul, senior officials said.
BAGHDAD -- A suicide car bomber attacked a provincial police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Sunday morning, the police and the city's civil defense director said, killing at least 36 people and wounding 105. Three additional suicide attackers who attempted to enter the general directorate of Kirkuk police after the blast were killed by the police.