JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday he supports the “strong and clear message” sent by a US strike in neighbouring Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack.
The Israeli military said it had been informed in advance of a massive cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase, the first US operation against the Damascus regime in six years of civil war.
“In both word and action, President (Donald) Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said.
“Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere.”
Trump said the strike on the Shayrat airbase with 59 Tomahawk missiles fired from warships in the eastern Mediterranean, was in retaliation for what he said was a “barbaric” chemical attack on a rebel-held town in northwestern Syria by the Damascus regime.
There had been international outrage over Tuesday’s suspected attack that killed dozens of civilians but Moscow stood by its Damascus ally and warned of the negative consequences of any military action.
As a result, a UN Security Council debate on a Western-drafted resolution that would have sanctioned the Syrian regime was again delayed on Thursday amid Russian insistence that the chemical weapons that caused the deaths had been stockpiled by jihadists on the ground and released by a conventional strike.
Washington said it had given advance notification of its military action to both Russia and its Western and Arab allies in a coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.