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Israel officials: Air strike against Syria targeted missile shipment

WASHINGTON – Israeli officials confirmed Saturday the country’s air force carried out a strike against Syria and say it targeted a shipment of advanced missiles bound for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The officials said the attack took place early Friday and targeted sophisticated “game-changing” weapons. One official said the target was a shipment of advanced, long-range ground-to-ground missiles.

It was not immediately clear where the airstrike took place, or whether the air force carried out the strike from Lebanese or Syrian airspace.

The Israeli officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a secret military operation.

There was no immediate comment from Syrian officials, and no word of the airstrike on Syrian state media.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned in recent weeks that Israel would be prepared to take military action if chemical weapons or other arms that would upset the balance of power with Hezbollah were to reach the Islamic militant group.

It was the latest salvo in Israel’s long-running effort to disrupt the Shiite militia’s quest to build an arsenal capable of defending against Israel’s air force and spreading destruction inside the Jewish state.

In January, the Israeli air force is believed to have targeted a shipment of advanced SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles bound for Hezbollah. Israel has not formally admitted to carrying out that airstrike, though officials have strongly hinted they were behind the attack.

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