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Israel PM declines to comment on explosion

July 14, 2013 at 3:13 PM   |   Comments

LATAKIA, Syria, July 14 (UPI) -- Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu declined to comment Sunday on whether Israel was responsible for last week's explosions in Latakia, Syria.

"I am not in the habit of saying what we did do or didn't do," he told CBS' Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation."

Netanyahu did say that he stands by his policy of preventing the transfer of dangerous weapons to the Hezbollah and other terror groups.

His comments come after an Israeli Dolphin class submarine allegedly attacked a Syrian arms depot at the Latakia port July 5, unnamed sources told Britain's The Sunday Times.

Citing Middle East intelligence sources, the Times reported the alleged Israeli navy strike was closely coordinated with the United States. The aim of the strike was to destroy about 50 Russian-made, Yakhont P-800 anti-ship missiles stored at the base, the newspaper said. The missiles had been shipped to Syria earlier in the year.

The Times report contradicted a CNN report Friday in which unnamed U.S. officials told the American broadcaster Israeli fighter jets bombed the base. The officials told CNN Israel was concerned the Russian-made missiles posed a threat to its naval force.

Israeli sources expressed outrage over the allegations leaked by U.S. sources, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.

"Such statements do not aid in strengthening us," a senior Israeli source told the Hebrew language daily. The newspaper noted it is not the first time U.S. officials leaked such information. Two months ago, shortly after a weapons depot containing Iranian-made, long-range Fatah-110 missiles near Damascus was blown up, unnamed American officials were quick to point the finger at Israel.

While there has been no official Israeli government response to the allegations, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told Ynetnews.com last week Israel has not intervened in the Syrian civil war for a long time.

"There is an explosion here or an attack there, somewhere in the Middle East, most of the time they accuse us," he said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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