Israeli 'air strike on convoy on Syria-Lebanon border'
Iron Dome interceptor battery near Haifa - 28 January Israel's Iron Dome defence system has been deployed near Haifa
Rallying the faithful
Life amid the conflict
Under fire over the border
Israeli jets have attacked a convoy on the Syria-Lebanon border, unnamed security sources in the region have told news agencies. The attack came as Israel voiced fears that Syrian missiles and chemical weapons could fall into the hands of militants such as Lebanon's Hezbollah. It is not clear what the convoy was carrying, but the latest reports suggest it was attacked inside Syria. Israel did not comment. Syrian state media said a military site was bombed.
Sana news agency quoted an army statement which said: "Israeli fighter jets violated our airspace at dawn today and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research centre in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defence." The centre, in Jamraya northwest of the capital Damascus, was damaged in the attack, state TV said. The US State Department has also refused to comment on the reported attacks.
BBC Middle East correspondent Wyre Davies says none of the reports can be verified, although some well-placed diplomats and military sources say they would not be surprised if Israel had acted, given the recent instability in Syria. The Lebanese military and internal security forces have not officially confirmed the reports, but say there has been increased activity by Israeli warplanes over the country in the past week, and particularly in recent hours.
One report suggested there were fears in Israel that Syria and Hezbollah would take advantage of the overcast weather conditions to send weaponry across the border.
The Associated Press quoted a US official as saying the strike hit a convoy of lorries carrying Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles. A Lebanese army spokesman denied there had been any attack on Lebanese territory, according to L'Orient Le Jour newspaper. Others said an attack took place near the town of Zabadani in southern Syria. Correspondents say an attack on the Syrian side would cause a major diplomatic incident, as Iran has said it will treat any Israeli attack on Syria as an attack on itself.
The attack came days after Israel moved its Iron Dome defence system to the north of the country. Correspondents say Israel fears that Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah could obtain anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, thus strengthening its ability to respond to Israeli air strikes. Israel has also joined the US in expressing concern that Syria's presumed chemical weapons stockpile could be taken over by militant groups.
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told Israeli radio on Sunday that any sign that Syria was losing its grip on the weapons could lead to Israeli action, even a pre-emptive strike. Analysts say Israel believes Syria received a battery of SA-17s from Russia after an alleged Israeli air strike in 2007 that destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor. The US government said in 2008 that the reactor was "not intended for peaceful purposes".