Israeli Airstrikes Hit Weapons Smuggling From Syria to Lebanon

Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 08:12 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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An area often used to smuggle fighters and weapons from Lebanon into Israel was struck by Israeli airstrikes on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Israeli military officials declined to comment on two airstrikes that took place near Nabi Sheet, a Lebanon village in the eastern Bekaa Valley. Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite military group and a close ally of Syria, has a significant presence there. 

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Lebanon’s Daily Star reported Monday that the strikes targeted a weapons shipment meant for Hezbollah, one of Israel's most aggressive enemies in the region.

Al Arabiya reported that the strikes were on a moving convoy carrying ballistic missiles from Syria to Lebanon, per the Times of Israel. 

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-led activist group in the area, told the Associated Press that Israeli warplanes also targeted a Hezbollah rocket launcher near the villages of Janta and Yahfoufa.

A known weapons smuggling route lies along Janta, and Hezbollah had allegedly built a training facility there, according to The Times of Israel. The facility, according to a 2012 report, "includes a suspected driver training course, a 100-meter firing range and a possible urban terrain assault course."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told the AP that it was unclear whether the bombs landed inside Lebanon or Syria.

BBC News reported that Israel may have been targeting trucks traveling from Syria to the area that aids the Hezbollah. 

Nabi Sheet residents heard several explosions late Monday but were unsure of what caused them. Jaafar al-Musawi, head of Nabi Sheet Municipality, told Lebanon's Al-Jadeed TV that the bombs did not detonate inside the city.

"We heard warplanes followed by explosions, it could be along the border with Syria," al-Musawi said in Lebanon media reports.

A 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah ended in a stalemate. Israeli officials say that Hezbollah has restocked its weapons, including thousands of rockets and missiles that could be used to attack the country again.

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