JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel is vowing to keep up its attacks to prevent advanced weapons reaching Hezbollah via Syria. In meetings earlier this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear Israel would continue to monitor and act against the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah.
Despite Syrian President Bashar Assad's warning of an immediate and harsh response to any further airstrikes against weapons convoys or depots, Israeli officials speaking on condition of anonymity told the New York Times Israel would bring down Assad's regime if it comes to that.
"Israel is determined to continue to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah," one official told the Times.
"The transfer of such weapons to Hezbollah will destabilize and endanger the entire region," he reportedly said. "If Syrian President Assad reacts by attacking Israel or tries to strike Israel through his terrorist proxies, he will risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate."
Meanwhile, for the first time since the Syrian civil war erupted more than two years ago, two mortar shells were fired at Mt. Hermon, an Israeli ski resort and tourist site, in the Golan Heights. Since last summer, a number of rockets and mortars have hit further south on the Golan Heights.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six Day War, annexing it in the early 80s after developing the area, effectively ending Syrian sniper fire on Israeli farmers in the Hula Valley.
Earlier this week, Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah threatened to open a front on the Golan.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Tuesday, "Whether it is the transfer of high-quality weapons to terrorist organizations or violation of our sovereignty across the border, in all these cases we will strive to protect the security of the State of Israel."
According to the officials, that message has been conveyed to Assad and his government in Damascus, though some analysts say the warning is meant for Iran and it's Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.