The Alrai daily newspaper in Kuwait reported on Saturday that Israel is planning to attack Hizbullah weapons storage and production facilities in Syria. According to unnamed Western sources who were quoted in the report, the IDF has strengthened its troop presence in the Golan Heights and Galilee panhandle. European sources told the paper that Israel had sent unmanned aerial vehicles over Syria and Lebanon, which they see as a sign that a military operation in the area is in the works.
In September of 2007, Israel attacked and destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria. The site of the bombing was an installation meant to produce plutonium, and was partially funded by North Korea. The CIA had said that Israel bombed the reactor before it attained its planned capacity to manufacture plutonium for nuclear weapons.
Syria did not respond to the 2007 Israeli attack. However, Alrai also cited sources who said that this time Syria would respond forcefully and quickly should it be attacked by Israel. The paper reported that the Syrian Army has deployed anti-aircraft missiles along the Israeli border and in other key strategic areas in the country, and is ready to respond to an attack.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese army claimed on Friday that Israel has begun to use hot air balloons above Lebanon’s skies. The balloons, said the Lebanese army, are equipped with camera and transmission capabilities.
Arab media reported that these hot air balloons had been spotted on Thursday over Baalbek, the villages of Nahla and Younin and the east Lebanon mountain ridge. The Lebanese army said in a statement that Israel’s use of these balloons is “a new violation of Lebanese sovereignty.”
The reports regarding Syria and Lebanon come during a relatively tense time. On August 3, Lebanese soldiers opened fire on IDF soldiers while they were carrying out routine maintenance near the Israeli border with Lebanon. Lt.-Col. (res.) Dov Harari was killed during the exchange of fire.The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), who conducted an investigation into the incident, said that the attack by the Lebanese soldiers was unprovoked by the IDF. UNIFIL said that although Lebanon has claimed that the Israeli soldiers had crossed the border into Lebanese territory, evidence found that the IDF troops had remained on the Israeli side of the international “blue line” border set by the United Nations.