|Date: Apr 16, 2018|
|Source: The Daily Star|
|Syria strikes are "important signal" to Iran and Hezbollah -Israeli minister|
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: U.S.-led strikes in Syria are an "important signal" to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a senior Israeli cabinet minister said Saturday.
"The use of chemical weapons crosses a red line that humanity can no longer tolerate," Yoav Gallant, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet, said on Twitter.
U.S., British and French forces hit Syria with air strikes overnight in response to a poison gas attack that killed dozens of people last week. U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to sustain the response until Assad’s government stopped its use of chemical weapons.
"The American attack is an important signal to the axis of evil - Iran, Syria and Hezbollah," Gallant said.
An Israeli official said Israel was notified of the strikes ahead of time. Asked how much advanced warning Israel had received, the official told Reuters: "Between 12 and 24 hours, I believe."
Asked whether Israel helped choose targets, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "Not to my knowledge."
A U.S. embassy spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters that Israel was notified before the strikes, but she provided no further details.
Iran’s involvement in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad has alarmed Israel, which has said it would counter any threat. Iran-backed Hezbollah, which has an extensive missile arsenal, last fought a war with Israel in 2006.
Syria, Iran and Russia say Israel was behind an air strike on a Syrian air base on Monday that killed seven Iranian military personnel, something Israel has neither confirmed nor denied.
On Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and urged him to do nothing to destabilize Syria, according to a Kremlin statement.
Israel has mounted air strikes in Syria on a regular basis, targeting suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah.