Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Israeli air force strikes a site nr. Damascus, in a new air strike on what unnamed Western intelligence sources say was a shipment of advanced, Iranianmade missiles heading to Hizballah in Lebanon. Israeli officials later stress that the airstrikes are aimed at Hizballah rather than destabilizing or undermining Pres. Bashar al-Asad’s regime. The Syrian government accuses Israel of ‘‘gross aggression’’ and says that the strike ‘‘opens a door to all options.’’ The opposition Syrian National Coalition also condemns the strike, saying that Israel is ‘‘taking advantage’’ of the conflict. A U.S. intelligence official says that Washington was not given any forewarning of the air raid. Iran’s Foreign Min. states that countries in the region should oppose the ‘‘assault,’’ while the Iran’s army ground forces commander Ahmad Reza Pourdastan says Tehran is ready to support its ally. Egypt condemns the airstrikes, as does the Lebanese pres. Michel Suleiman. The Arab League demands that the UN Security Council act to end Israeli attacks on Syria, though without suggesting any specific measures. (Guardian, HA, JP, MNA, REU, YA 5/5; AP, REU 5/6)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF forces open fire on Palestinian gravel and metal collectors close to the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm in the morning, 1 village nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Salfit in the afternoon, and in al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron and 2 villages nr. Hebron at night. Also at night, IDF troops conduct house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Bethlehem, 1 village nr. Hebron, and 2 villages nr. Jenin. (PCHR 5/9)