Israel Destroys Syrian Radar Installation in Lebanon

(April 15, 2001)

Israel attacked a Syrian position in Lebanon for the first time in five years. Israel Air Force fighter planes attacked a radar installation north of the Beirut-Damascus road at around 1 AM. The Syrian site, located some 20 kilometers east of Beirut, was destroyed by six air-to-ground missiles fired by four IAF planes.

The mission was a retaliatory raid for Hizbullah's Saturday missile attack that claimed the life of St.-Sgt. Elad Litvak, who will be buried today. In addition, two other soldiers were killed by Hizbullah fire along the northern border in the past several months, and three soldiers and one Israeli businessman were kidnapped in late 2000 and are still being held captive by Hizbullah. Syrian officials claim that three of their men were killed in last night's attack.

The Israeli government said that Hizbullah had been acting with Syrian approval and help. It further noted that despite the fact that Israel was in total compliance with the UN resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon, Hizbullah was continuing its acts of aggression against Israel. The statement also said that the Israel holds the governments of Lebanon and Syria responsible for ending the Hizbullah terrorist attacks across the international border.

U.S. officials also blamed Hizbullah for deliberately provoking Israel. “In the last several days there has been a dangerous escalation across the line of withdrawal,” said White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. “And the United States condemns this escalation that was initiated by Hizbullah in a clear provocation designed to escalate an already tense situation.”

Source: Arutz-7, (April 16, 2001); Jerusalem Post, (April 17, 2001).