Ain es Saheb airstrike
|Ain es Saheb airstrike|
IAF video of the strike
|Objective||Destruction of the site in Ain es Saheb, Syria|
|Date||5 October 2003|
|Executed by||Israeli Air Force|
|Outcome||Successful strike on alleged militant site|
|Casualties|| 1 injured|
In response to the suicide bombing in Haifa 12 hours earlier by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, four Israeli Air Force 110 "Knights of the North" Squadron F-16Cs attacked an alleged Palestinian militant training camp about 24 kilometres (15 miles) northwest of the Syrian capital Damascus. A single civilian guard was reportedly injured in the strike, the first in Syrian territory in nearly thirty years. The jets took off from Ramat David Airbase at 03:00 and headed north over the Mediterranean before turning east, crossing the coastline into Lebanon and approaching the target from the west. It is uncertain whether the aircraft actually crossed the border into Syria proper as the exact type of munitions used is unknown and the target is located close to the Syrian-Lebanese border.
Militant camp claims
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed the camp was used to train recruits in bomb assembly and guerrilla warfare and has released footage of the camp taken from the Al-Arabia TV station showing hundreds of weapons and underground tunnels packed with arms and ammunition. Both Syria and the Islamic Jihad denied Israeli claims, while an official of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC) said the camp belongs to his group but has been long abandoned. Palestinian sources in Beirut, however, report the facility belongs to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP, not to be mistaken with the PFLP-GC) and had at the same time served as a training base for the Islamic Jihad and Hamas. These same sources reported a weapons workshop at the site, lending support to reports by the attacking pilots of secondary explosions.
- "The IAF attacks a target in the territory of Syria.". Retrieved 13 June 2010.
- "Kritiserer Israels angrep på Syria" (in Norwegian). Dagbladet. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
- Crean, Ellen (5 October 2003). "Israel Strikes Base Inside Syria". CBS/AP. Retrieved 13 June 2010.