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Sadler: Israel crossing a red line

CNN Correspondent Brent Sadler
CNN Correspondent Brent Sadler

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Brent Sadler
Syria
Israel

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Israel Defense Forces confirmed an overnight aistrike against what it called a terrorist base in Syria. The attack came just hours after a terrorist suicide bombing in Israel killed 19 people. On Sunday the Syrian Foreign Ministry called the Israeli action a flagrant violation in an already tense region.

The airstrike hit a camp in Syria used for guerrilla training for Islamic Jihad and Hamas, the IDF said. However, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for Saturday's bombing in Haifa, denied there were any Islamic Jihad training bases in Syria. CNN's Brent Sadler -- who is following events not far from Syria in Beirut -- filed the following report:

SADLER: Many observers on the ground are pinpointing what's happened overnight in this region as a very important strategic change in the Arab-Israeli conflict, involving the Syrians, the Israelis and with Lebanon on the sidelines.

The Lebanese capital, Beirut, is just 2-and-a-half hours from Damascus, the Syrian capital located about 10 miles from the target of an overnight Israeli raid.

The Israeli Air Force attacked what Israel said is a training facility of Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for Saturday's suicide bombing in Haifa, northern Israel, which if you drove there from Syria -- if there was no border, if there was a freeway -- it would take about three hours.

That provides some idea of the proximity of all these places -- Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Damascus, here in Beirut and in Haifa, where that suicide bombing took place, killing 19 people.

What we're seeing here is a crossing of what effectively has been a red line for many decades -- perhaps as many as 30 years -- in which there's been no real Israeli action from the ground or from the air against Syrian targets in Syria.

What we've seen both before and after the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon -- that occupation ended some three years ago -- has been Israeli attacks on Syrian military targets in southern Lebanon in response to Hezbollah attacks against Israeli occupation troops when they were in Lebanon and -- of course -- at the foot of the Golan Heights in a disputed area called the Shebba Farms.

The Golan Heights area is the intersection of Israel, Syria and Lebanon. Israel captured it during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Hezbollah is a militant group whose stated objective has been to drive all "occupying" forces out of Lebanon. The United States and Israel have designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization

It's all very, very complicated. But what it does mean is there's a lot of connectivity between what Islamic Jihad is doing in terms of its terrorist actions in Israel.

It's seen also in conjunction between the U.S. administration and the Israelis in context with what Hezbollah does here in terms of what is described by administration officials as terror activities. So, there's really a lot of connection here.

The Syrians and the Islamic Jihad are saying that there are no active fighters from Islamic Jihad in Syria. And one Syrian official said, "Israel has violated the disengagement accord signed by Syria and Israel back in 1974."

So, there could be very, very serious ramifications in the wake of what's happened with this air strike by the Israelis in Syrian territory.


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