Syria moved missiles before alleged Israeli strike, report says

Haaretz — August 1, 2013

Israel failed to destroy a Syrian arsenal of Russian-made cruise missiles in an alleged attack last month on a warehouse near the city of Latakia, U.S. officials told the New York Times on Wednesday.

According to the report, U.S. intelligence analysts estimate that Israeli aircrafts struck the warehouse from the east without breaching Syrian airspace.

Their assessment was that, while the warehouse itself was destroyed, at least some of the Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles were removed from their launchers and taken out from the building before the attack.

The analysts also said Israel is likely to strike Syria again.

Last month, CNN reported that Israel was behind a series of explosions in the Syrian port of Latakia on the night of July 5, which reportedly targeted the Yakhont anti-ship missiles. Israel did not issue an official response to the report.

The Yakhont is an anti-ship missile that has a range of 300 kilometers and can carry a warhead weighing 250 kilograms. Russia has supplied Syria with such missile battrries in 2011.

In May, the New York Times reported that Russia sent a new shipment of upgraded Yakhont missiles to Syria said to be outfitted with an advanced radar that makes it more effective.

Yakhont missiles pose a threat to maritime transport arriving in and departing from Israel, as well as vital infrastructure located near the country’s coast, including gas reservoirs and power stations on its coastline.

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