Russia Today claims the IAF used a Turkish military base to launch an airstrike in Syria [Illustrative] – Photo: IAF
The RT network, which is controlled by the Kremlin, cited a “reliable source.” “Our source is telling us that Israeli planes left a military base inside Turkey and approached Latakia from the sea to make sure that they stayed out of Syrian airspace so that they cannot become a legitimate target for the Syrian air force,” RT reported.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vehemently denied the RT report later Monday, saying that it was “entirely untrue” and adding that those who reported this information had committed an “act of betrayal.”
On Sunday, the Sunday Times concurred that the attack, for which no official has taken responsibility, was perpetrated by Israel, but claimed that it had not been launched from the air, but rather carried out by submarine from the sea. According to the Times report, some 50 Russian-made anti-ship cruise missiles, known as Yakhont missiles, were destroyed in the attack.
Until March 2013, Israeli-Turkish relations were strained as a result of a May 2010 clash between Israeli commandos and Turkish activists aboard a Gaza-bound protest ship, which culminated with the deaths of nine Turkish activists. The relationship had already been rocky before the incident due to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strong opposition to Israel’s 2008-2009 Gaza campaign. In March this year, however, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan for the deaths of the activists, ostensibly mending ties.
Israel has so far declined to confirm or deny its involvement in the July 5 attack, but on Sunday, speaking to CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s determination to prevent dangerous weapons from being transferred into enemy hands.
“Every time something happens in the Middle East, Israel is accused,” Netanyahu joked when asked to comment on the recent slew of reports pointing the finger at Israel. “I’m not in the habit of saying what we did or didn’t do,” the prime minister added, echoing the Israel Defense Forces’ position.
“I’ll tell you what my policy is. My policy is to prevent the transfer of dangerous weapons to Hezbollah and other terror groups, Hezbollah in Lebanon and other terror groups as well. And we stand by that policy,” Netanyahu explained.
Meanwhile, Russia Today quoted Middle East expert and historian Tariq Ali as saying that Israel is attacking Syria to get square with Hezbollah.
“Hezbollah is like a red [rag to a] bull to Israelis and Israelis haven’t been able to wipe it out, though they tried many times. Now they are hoping they can do it by weakening or completely destroying the Syrian regime. Indirectly they are providing help to the rebels,” Ali said.
Don’t trust Iran’s new leader
In his interview with CBS, Netanyahu said that Iran was still pressing forward with a program designed to develop a nuclear weapon, and the signs of moderation coming from Iran’s new leader, Hasan Rouhani, are merely cosmetic.
Netanyahu called the incoming Iranian president a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
He urged the world to step up pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program through tougher sanctions and threats to take military action.
Israel appears to be concerned that the world will ease pressure on Iran in order to engage Rouhani in negotiations.
Iran denies Western charges that it is pursuing nuclear weapons, saying its program is for peaceful purposes.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=10709