Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that Israel played a major role in influencing Russia to cancel its planned sale of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria.
The decision to cancel the sale was likely an outcome of President’s Vladimir Putin’s visit to Israel on Monday, during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres discussed events in Syrian at great length with the Russian President.
"Putin listened perfectly to what we said," Barak told Army Radio, asserting that the 100-million U.S. dollar deal's suspension was the outcome of talks between Russian and Israeli officials.
The S-300 is one of the most advanced multi-target anti aircraft missile systems in the world, with an ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time.
In the interview, Barak also noted the violent death of senior Hamas member, Kamel Hussein Ranaja, on Wednesday in Damascus. Ranaja was found shot with indications that he had also been tortured.
Ranaja was one of the deputies of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander found dead in a Dubai hotel room in 2010. Dubai police alleged that Israel's Mossad intelligence agency was responsible for his death.
Although Hamas officials on Thursday also blamed the Mossad for Ranaja's assassination, Barak said it was "not necessarily true" that the Mossad was behind the assassination, but that he would not mourn the Hamas members because he was not "one of the righteous of his generation."