The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 31, 2013

Syria threatens to retaliate for Israeli airstrike

(Continued)

He was referring to NATO's 2011 military intervention in Libya that helped oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

"Even if there are reports about pinpoint operations, these are not significant solutions to the threat itself because we are talking about very substantial capabilities that could reach Hezbollah," he added.

Syria's civil war has sapped Assad's power and threatens to deprive Hezbollah of a key supporter, in addition to its land corridor to Iran. The two countries provide Hezbollah with the bulk of its funding and arms.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu warned of the dangers of Syria's "deadly weapons," saying the country is "increasingly coming apart."

The same day, Israel moved a battery of its new "Iron Dome" rocket defense system to the northern city of Haifa, which was battered by Hezbollah rocket fire in the 2006 war. The Israeli army called that move "routine."

The Israeli army won't say whether Iron Dome was sent north in connection to this operation. It does note that it has deployed the system in the north before.

Syria and its allies, including Hezbollah, deny there is an uprising against the government and say what is happening is part of a conspiracy against Damascus because of its support for anti-Israeli groups.

Hezbollah said the attack is part of that conspiracy "that aims to destroy Syria, its army and vital role in the line of resistance" against Israel.

____

Associated Press writer Ian Deitch contributed to this report from Jerusalem.

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