NYT reports US analysts believe Syrians set fire to self-propelled launchers in Latakia to create impression of successful attack, but some Yakhont missiles remain intact.
American officials said on Wednesday that according to intelligence analysts, a recent Israeli airstrike on a warehouse in Syria did not succeed in destroying all of the Russian-made anti-ship cruise missiles that were its target, the New York Times reported.
According to the New York Times, Israel carried out an attack on July 5 near Latakia to destroy the missiles, which Russia had sold to Syria. But the report said that while the warehouse was destroyed, American intelligence analysts have now concluded that at least some of the Yakhont missiles had been 5removed from their launchers and moved from the warehouse before the attack.
Israeli officials have said that they do not intend to enter the civil war in Syria, but they have said they are prepared to prevent sophisticated weapons from falling into the hands of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia, which has joined the war to support President Bashar Assad of Syria and which controlled the warehouse where the missiles were stored.
American and Israeli naval officials consider the missiles to be a serious threat to their ships.
After the alleged Israeli attack, said the report, the Assad government sought to hide the fact that the missiles had been missed by setting fire to launchers and vehicles at the site to create the impression that the strike had landed a devastating blow, according to American intelligence reports.
The New York Times reported that the Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment. Israel has a longstanding policy of silence on pre-emptive military strikes.
According to the Times, the July 5 attack near Latakia was the fourth known Israeli airstrike in Syria this year.
Providing new details about the raid, American officials said that the attack had been carried out by Israeli aircraft that flew over the eastern Mediterranean, fired air-to-ground missiles and never entered Syrian airspace. According to the report, the route of the Israeli aircraft led to some erroneous reports that the attack had been carried out by an Israeli submarine.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4412342,00.html