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Old 04-09-2018, 06:14 AM
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Arrow Israel Informed Washington Ahead of Syria Strike on Air Base, U.S. Officials Say

Israel Informed Washington Ahead of Syria Strike on Air Base, U.S. Officials Say
By: Amir Tibon (Washington) Apr 09, 2018 3:43 PM

Kremlin says Israel did not inform Moscow before carrying out overnight strike on Iranian T-4 air base ■ In the past, Israel complained about Obama officials leaking intel

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WASHINGTON - Israel informed the United States of its plans to attack in Syria overnight, two U.S. officials told NBC News on Monday morning. The officials confirmed that it was the Israeli military that carried out the strike on an air base in Syria - something Israel has not officially acknowledged, as part of its policy of not directly taking responsibility for actions in the Syrian arena.

Under the Obama administration, Israel complained about a number of occasions in which U.S. officials leaked to news outlets that Israel was responsible for strikes in Syria. This time, however, Israel has already been publicly blamed for the attack by Russia, which has denounced the attack. Still, a confirmation from American officials about an action that Israel is not officially taking responsibility for is an unusual event in the relationship between the two countries.

Syria and its main ally Russia blamed Israel for carrying out an attack on a Syrian air base near Homs on Monday which killed 14 people. Syria's state TV initially blamed the strike on the United States, but the Pentagon denied the U.S. carried out any strike in Syria.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says most of the 14 killed were either Iranians or members of Iran-backed groups.

The Kremlin said Moscow wasn't informed ahead of time of any upcoming airstrike on a Syrian air base. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Monday that Israel had not spoken to the president ahead of the air strike even though there may have been Russian military advisers at the base, which he described as "a cause for concern for us."

The Russian military said that two Israeli F-15 war planes carried out the airstrikes on the T-4 miltiary base near Homs, the Interfax news agency reported. Activists said that 14 people were killed in the strike, including Iranians.

Interfax cited the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that Israeli war planes had carried out the strikes from Lebanese air space.

The Lebanese army said in a statement Monday that four Israeli planes violated Lebanon's airspace for about 10 minutes around 3:25 AM. The army did not say whether the warplanes carried out the airstrikes on Syria's T-4 air base.

The Russian ministry said that Syrian air defense systems had shot down five of eight missiles fired, while the other three landed in the western part of the base. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that the strike was "a dangerous development."

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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