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Satellite appears to show Syria building unscathed by Israel strike

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 6 Feb 2013 19:58 GMT
Author: Reuters
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JERUSALEM, Feb 6 (Reuters) - A research centre that Syria said was hit by an Israeli strike last week remained unscathed in the attack, an Israeli television channel said satellite images it broadcast on Wednesday showed.

Diplomats, Syrian rebels and security sources said Israeli jets bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border last week, apparently hitting weapons destined for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006.

Syria denied the assertions, saying the target was the Jamraya military research complex on the northwestern fringes of Damascus and 8 miles (13 km) from the border.

Some of the diplomats and security sources said the apparently contradictory accounts might refer to the same incident, given Jamraya's proximity to the border.

Channel 2 News broadcast satellite images of what it said was the complex, taken eight months before the attack and a few days after it.

The latter showed a road and parking lot, both of them scorched and blackened, next to an apparently unscathed building, which Channel 2 said was the research centre.

Channel 2 said the images were taken by DigitalGlobe, a public company based in the United States. A spokesperson for DigitalGlobe contacted by Reuters could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the photos.

Syrian television had broadcast footage from the Jamraya base showing extensive damage to buildings and several heavy military vehicles which appeared capable of carrying missiles.

At least one vehicle, with light desert khaki markings, was equipped with what looked like a satellite dish.

Several burnt out cars and lorries, including one with a large hole smashed through the roof of the driver's cabin, could also be seen in the footage, as well as the badly damaged interior of an office.

Israel has maintained official silence last week's raid, but on Sunday Defence Minister Ehud Barak appeared to acknowledge that Israel carried out the strike. [ID: nL5N0B32NU]. (Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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