Western military and intelligence sources report that Israeli Air Force strikes in Lebanon and Syria overnight Monday, Feb. 24 came on the heels of the first use in the three-year Syrian war of a Russian-made nuclear-capable Tochka (Point) surface missile – NATO-coded SS-21 Scarab – which carries a 480-kilo warhead with a range of 70 km. These missiles were fired earlier Monday in the Syrian-Hizballah battle for Yabroud. There was no information about the effect of the Israeli strikes.
According to Lebanese sources, however, the target was a cluster of five Hizballah bases or command posts in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley. Hizballah casualties were reported.
debkafile’s military and intelligence sources estimate that Israel’s action has left two big question marks:
1. Was it a one-off, or the start of a series?
2. Will Hizballah or Syria hit back?
Up until now, any military actions Israel undertook in Syria and Lebanon were cloaked in secrecy and never admitted by the IDF, even when images emerged of the damage caused. This time, there are no images and even Lebanese security sources can’t agree on the targets that were hit.
That is because the shoe is now on the other foot. The Iranian Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani has ordered the Israeli air strikes to be kept under tight wraps.