On Thursday, other officials made it clear that Israeli concerns arent limited to anti-aircraft systems, citing specifically Russian-made SS-N-26 Yakhont anti-ship missiles, which Israeli officials said could target Israeli military and civilian shipping.
"The range and accuracy of these missiles is very threatening to Israels navy, and there is intelligence that Hezbollah has tried to obtain them in the past," said an military officer who also spoke to McClatchy on the condition of anonymity because of a lack of authorization to talk to journalists.
He said Russia had sold Syria 72 of the missiles, which can fly 180 miles at more than twice the speed of sound. From the coast of southern Lebanon, much of Israels naval fleet, including its port in the city of Haifa, would fall into range.
The Israeli officer stressed that to date, Yakhont missiles remained out of reach for Hezbollah.
"Hezbollah is always attempting to arm themselves, but we have made it clear that we consider certain weapons a red line and that we will act decisively to stop them from reaching Hezbollahs hands," he said.
Israel has declined to publicly acknowledge Wednesdays air raid, and American officials, who reportedly were told in advance of Israels plans to strike, have refused to comment.
Other usually well-informed sources on Syrian events have been unable to provide details of what took place. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization that tracks Syrias civil war, said it could confirm that an airstrike had taken place but that it had been unable to determine the target.
Anti-government activists in Syria said they also had been unable to determine what had been struck. They noted that the area targeted is under government control and heavily fortified, and hadnt been the subject of recent rebel activity.
Andrea Tenenti, a spokesman for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the U.N. group thats charged with monitoring Hezbollahs activities in southern Lebanon, told McClatchy that "nothing had changed in the area under UNIFILs mandate in recent weeks."
"We can certainly confirm that there were a high number of Israeli overflights that UNIFIL recorded yesterday. But that is all we have, and these air violations have continued on an almost daily basis. So we cannot draw any further conclusions on this basis," Tenenti said.
We have not seen or witnessed smuggling of any weapons into southern Lebanon," he said.
Meanwhile, Israelis discounted Syrian threats that it would retaliate for the strike, saying the Assad government and its Hezbollah allies had neither the time nor the energy to engage with Israel as they battle the insurrection.
"Its in the interest of Syria and Lebanon to let this thing die down slowly, said Shlomo Brom, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli research center with close ties to the government. Syria is coming apart, and the last thing they need is for Israel to come into the picture and further weaken and distract them. Hezbollah is also weaker than they have been in the past because of their commitments to Syria. They are concerned that if they get into a war they wont be able to restock their weapons supplies through Syria as they did in the past."
McClatchy special correspondent David Enders contributed to this article from Beirut.
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