The former Director of Israel's Mossad spy agency, Danny Yatom, has ruled out any response by the Syrian army or Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon to the Israeli attack on Syria, newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday.
"I do not think that there will be any response since there is no benefit for Hezbollah and Syria to do so," said Yatom. "Al-Assad is experiencing deep problems in his country and Hezbollah is doing its best to help him, so I don't think that they will consider any response."
Israel did not acknowledge responsibility for the attack, but Syrian officials and witnesses have confirmed that Israeli aircraft bombed a research study centre in Damascus. Syrian sources said that two people were killed and five were injured.
While Israeli and US officials refrained from commenting on the attack, American newspapers said that anonymous sources in Washington had confirmed that Israel had informed the Obama administration about its intentions.
According to the New York Times, the Israelis targeted a convoy on the outskirts of Damascus that was transporting SA-17 anti-aircraft weapons that could limit Israel's ability to fly reconnaissance flights over Lebanon. Other American sources told the Wall Street Journal that the Israeli attack bombed a military convoy heading for Southern Lebanon.
Regional media reported that Hezbollah condemned the attack and called for the international community to do likewise. On Thursday, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Russia said it was very concerned about reports of an Israeli attack in Syria and that any such action, if confirmed, would amount to unacceptable military interference in the war-ravaged country.
The Lebanese Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, described the attack as "blunt aggression which we strongly condemn." He called for the Arab states to confront Israel in every possible legal way.
A number of Arab states actually blamed the silence of the international community for giving Israel the confidence to launch the attack: "The world's silence in the face of the Israeli bombing of Syrian sites in the past has encouraged Israel to continue its aggression while taking advantage of the situation [inside Syria] to commit this crime." Israel, they added, has to be held fully accountable for the "outcome of the aggression".