Oooh, you know this is a touchy one, because the Israeli government is being awful tight-lipped, and the extent of Syria's saber-rattling has been a meek complaint to the United Nations. Many sources, many stories...
The New York Times :
One Bush administration official said Israel had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea.
Via LGF, we get a Ynet report:
...the Nazareth-based Israeli Arab newspaper The Assennara cited anonymous Israeli sources as saying that Israeli jets “bombed a Syrian-Iranian missile base in northern Syria that was financed by Iran... It appears that the base was completely destroyed.”
More, from the JPost:
Israeli warplanes targeted weapons destined for Hizbullah in a strike last week in northeastern Syria, a US government official said Wednesday, even as Israel remained silent over the incident.
The official said the target in the strike last Thursday was a site where Israel believed Syria was storing weapons from Iran heading for the Lebanese terrorist group....
...A ground operation may also have been part of the foray...
In From The Cold "confirms", if we can use that word in this case:
If you believe the Syrian foreign minister, then the Israelis flew through the heart of his nation's air defenses--apparently undetected--to strike at targets near the country's eastern border.
[ DEBKA reports further on the utter failure of Syria's new Russian-built air defenses]
The success of this particular raid suggests that despite a reported shake-up of the Syria's air defense organization, the system remains incapable of defeating an Israeli attack. And, making matters worse, the IDF raid apparently included a ground attack, featuring commandos that were (presumably) ferried in by helicopter.
While IAF CH-53 Sea Stallions have the range (540 NM) to reach distant targets, getting the chopper(s) and the commandos in and out of enemy territory was indeed an impressive feat.
Apparently, the Syrians fared no better against the heliborne element of the mission than they did against the IAF jets...As for their mission ...likely the IDF commandos were on the ground for a secondary demolition mission, or (more likely) to kill or capture high-value assets.
Juicy! I think it will be a while before the full story is known. But one can safely say that the Israeli government did engage in a pre-emptive strike to destroy weaponry that was surely destined to kill many an innocent Jew.
Good to see, on the dawn of a New Year, that the Israeli people have re-asserted their right to an aggressive self-defense...