July 14, 2013
WASHINGTON — Israel carried out an air attack in Syria this month that targeted advanced antiship cruise missiles sold to the Syria government by Russia, American officials said Saturday.
The officials, who declined to be identified because they were discussing intelligence reports, said the attack occurred July 5 near Latakia, Syria’s principal port city. The target was a type of missile called the Yakhont, they said.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, declined to comment on the strike, as did George Little, the Pentagon spokesman.
The Russian-made weapon has been a particular worry for the Pentagon because it expanded Syria’s ability to threaten Western ships that could be used to transport supplies to the Syrian opposition, enforce a shipping embargo or support a possible no-flight zone.
The missile also represented a threat to Israel’s naval forces and raised concerns that it might be provided to Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that has joined the war on the side of the Syrian government.