Satellite Images Contradict Syrian Claim Research Center Hit in Air Strike

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

A research center that Syria said had been hit by an Israeli air strike last week appears to have remained unscathed in the attack, according to satellite images shown by Israeli media on Wednesday.

Diplomats, Syrian rebels and security sources said Israeli jets had bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border last week, apparently hitting weapons destined for Hizbullah.

Syria denied the assertions, saying the target was the Jamraya military research complex on the northwestern fringes of Damascus, 8 miles from the border.

Some of the diplomats and security sources said the apparently contradictory accounts might refer to the same incident, given Jamraya’s proximity to the border.

Satellite images of the complex, taken eight months before the attack and a few days after it, showed an apparently undamaged building, apparently the research center, next to a scorched and blackened road and parking lot, where it said the arms convoy was hit.

The second image was attributed to DigitalGlobe, a public company based in the United States. A spokesperson for DigitalGlobe contacted by Reuters confirmed the authenticity of the image and said it had been taken on Feb. 4.

Israel has maintained official silence last week’s raid, but on Sunday Defense Minister Ehud Barak appeared to acknowledge that Israel had carried out the strike.