Minister Katz: Syria Attack ‘Matches Our Policy Perfectly’

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel has not officially commented on the bombing of a weapons and ammunition cache belonging to Iran outside Damascus early Thursday, but Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz gave a positive nod to the IDF as a possible source of the attack, while stopping short of totally acknowledging that Israel was responsible. Speaking on Army Radio, Katz said that the attack “absolutely matches our policy of preventing Hezbollah from strengthening. Whenever we receive information about movement of weapons to Hezbollah we will act.”

The large explosions heard early around Damascus Airport were the demolition of an Iranian weapons arsenal. The weapons, according to Israeli officials quoted in the media Thursday, were likely to be sent on to Hezbollah for use in terror attacks or a future war against Israel. Hezbollah confirmed that an attack took place early Thursday, attributing it to Israel. Israel had no comment on the report. The Reuters news agency quoted what it called a high-placed Israeli security source as saying that the attack had been undertaken by the IDF.

Katz spoke publicly about the incident, although he did not take responsibility for it on behalf of the government. “We must prevent Iran from maintaining a military presence in Syria,” Katz told Army Radio. “We must work with the Americans to prevent an Iranian armed presence in Syria.”

Criticizing Katz’s comments, IDF Reserve General Amiram Levin, who is running for leadership of the Labor Party, said that “in security, silence is golden. Politicians with big mouths feel the need to take credit that they don’t deserve. It’s politics on the back of national security, and it’s very irresponsible,” he wrote in a social media post.

However, Katz wasn’t the only government official to mention the concept of Israel’s acting against Syria, Hezbollah and Iran, although his was the most direct comment. Speaking Wednesday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Israel was “very concerned about the Iran-Syria connection, and the use of Syria by Iran as a military base to support Hezbollah. We will not allow Iran or Hezbollah to place their forces in the Golan.”

Also commenting on the matter was Housing Minister Yoav Galant. Speaking at an event in Tel Aviv Thursday, Galant said that “our enemies must realize that we know how to act against them in order to preserve our security.”

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