Retaliation threat after Israeli air strike on convoy

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Syria has threatened to retaliate for an Israeli air strike and its ally Iran said there will be repercussions for the Jewish state over the attack.

Syria sent a letter to the UN secretary-general yesterday stressing the country’s “right to defend itself, its territory and sovereignty” and holding Israel and its supporters accountable.

“Israel and those who protect it at the Security Council are fully responsible for the repercussions of this aggression,” the letter from Syria’s foreign ministry said.

US officials said Israel launched a rare air strike inside Syria on Wednesday. The target was a convoy believed to be carrying sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militant group allied with Syria and Iran.

Israeli leaders in the days leading up to the air strike had been publicly expressing concern that president Bashar al-Assad may be losing his grip on the country and its arsenal of conventional and non-conventional weapons.

The Syrian military denied there was a weapons convoy and said low-flying Israeli jets had crossed into their country over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to bomb a scientific research centre near Damascus.

It said the target was in the area of Jamraya, north-west of Damascus and about ten miles from the Lebanese border.

In Iran, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian as saying the raid will have significant implications for Israel. Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi condemned the air strike.