A reported Israeli airstrike on a Syrian weapons shipment crossing into Lebanon Monday killed four members of Hezbollah and prompted a consultation between the country’s president and army chief on a possible response, Lebanese media reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the strike targeted two trucks transferring missiles and a missile launcher from Syria to a Hezbollah warehouse.
The attack was widely reported upon and attributed to Israel on Monday night, and a senior Israeli security official told Time Magazine on Tuesday that the Jewish state was indeed behind the bombing.
Hezbollah television station Al-Manar had denied that a strike on the group’s forces had occurred, but on Tuesday Lebanese media reported that a Hezbollah field trainer had been killed in the raid.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman discussed the air strike with Army Chief of Staff Maj. Walid Salman on Tuesday, the Beirut-based Daily Star reported, and the two discussed how to confront “ such aggressions.”
Eyewitnesses told Al Arabiya that Israeli planes hit near the towns of Janta, Brital and Nabi Sheet on the border of Lebanon and Syria in two separate strikes.
The unnamed Israeli official told Time the targeted missiles could be assembled to carry warheads more powerful than any other in Hezbollah’s weapons arsenal.
Israel has said in the past it would seek to thwart several kinds of weapons from falling into Hezbollah’s hands, including advanced air defense systems, long-range precision land-to-sea missiles, advanced surface-to-surface missiles and chemical weapons.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that Israeli fighter jets could have been involved in the strike on Hezbollah’s convoy.
Speaking at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Netanyahu said he would not speak to the reports that Israeli planes struck a missile shipment in the Baalbek region on the border between the Syria and Lebanon. However, he added that Israel would defend itself through whatever means necessary.
“Our policy is clear,” he said in response to a reporter’s question about the strike. “I won’t speak about what is being claimed or not being claimed. However, we will do everything we need to in order to defend the security of our citizens.”
Janta lies along a known smuggling route for arms between Syria and Lebanon, the Daily Star reported. According to a 2012 report, Hezbollah built a training facility at Janta “which includes a suspected driver training course, a 100-meter firing range and a possible urban terrain assault course.”
AFP contributed to this report.