Syria Condemns Israeli Strike, Threatens 'Surprise'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Two days after an Israeli airstrike inside Syria, there were new reports Friday of  Israeli warplanes over southern Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Iran and Syria are threatening payback against Israel for Wednesday's assault.

"[Damascus)] has the option and the capacity to surprise in retaliation," Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karim Ali reportedly said at an emergency meeting Thursday.

Days before the strike, Iran warned that any attack against Syria would be considered an attack against Iran. Israeli media concluded the urgent need to strike inside Syria outweighed the risk of Iranian or Syrian retaliation.

"We see definitely a higher level of threat perception in America as well as in Israel about the possibility of this type of weapons falling into the hands of the opposition or in the hands of Hezbollah," Bar-Ilan University Prof. Efraim Inbar told CBN News.

Officially, Israel will not comment on the attack. In the past it has declared its "red lines." It would not allow Syria's vast chemical weapons stockpile to fall into Hezbollah or jihadi terrorists' hands or "game-changing" weapons systems, like the SA-17 anti-aircraft missile system.

With Syrian President Bashar Assad losing control of more of his country, the likelihood of additional Israeli strikes is growing.

Without action by Western countries, Likud Party member Tzachi Hanegbi said "…it could well be that we will reach a stage where we will have to make decisions."

Meanwhile, a Saudi newspaper claims Hezbollah received tons of mustard gas and long-range missiles from Syria last year.

Israel has positioned Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in the north against possible retaliation, but it appears unlikely Hezbollah or Syria would attack Israel openly at this point.

"I think Assad has no interest in escalating the conflict," Inbar said. "His plate is full with fighting the opposition. This is why Israel has greater leeway than usual, but we should not dismiss the possibility of some kind of escalation on the part of Assad or the opposition."

The greater threat seems to be from an attack against Israeli or Jewish targets abroad, like the attack on an Israeli tourist bus at the airport in Bulgaria last summer.

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CBN News
Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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