Former Israeli general: "Best timing" for Syria attack

(CBS News) Overseas, Syria's dictator has made no effort to retaliate against Israel for those surprise air strikes.

Over the weekend, Israeli jets bombed a military complex near Damascus. It was unrelated to Syria's bloody civil war.

Retired Israeli military intelligence chief Major-General Amos Yadlin.
Retired Israeli military intelligence chief Major-General Amos Yadlin speaks to CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey.
CBS News

The Israelis claim Iranian missiles were stored in the complex and were going to be shipped to Hezbollah, a Lebanese terror group that is Israel's sworn enemy.

The air strike raised little outcry in the Middle East, partly because the Iranian missiles kept there were seen as a legitimate threat to Israel and partly because President Bashar al-Assad has little support after two years of war in which 80,000 Syrians have been killed.

According to retired Israeli military intelligence chief Major-General Amos Yadlin, it was a perfect time for the attack.

"The fact [is] that Israel found the right timing, when the legitimacy of Assad is so low, when Iran and Hezbollah helping him to kill his own people -- also not popular," Yadlin said.

Syria regime and opposition both condemn Israeli strikes
Israel bolsters northern defenses after strikes against Syria
Israeli strike on Syria targeted weapons shipment

israel, damascus, syria, airstrikes
In this image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke and fire fill the the skyline over Damascus, Syria, early Sunday, May 5, 2013 after an Israeli airstrike.
AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video

Israel sees the raid as a strategic success because it cut the arms pipeline from Iran to Lebanon where the weapons would end up in the hands of Hezbollah.

According to the Israelis, the missiles were Fateh-110s, capable of carrying half-ton warheads with pinpoint accuracy deep into Israel.

The Israelis have reportedly told the Syrians that the attack had nothing to do with the ongoing struggle to oust Assad. But the Israelis see the chaos in Syria as working to their advantage.

The Israelis have also made it clear that are prepared to hit any targets in Syria that they perceive as a threat and they think that this time, even their usual enemies aren't unhappy about it.

A map of Iran, Syria and Lebanon
A map of Iran, Syria and Lebanon
CBS News
  • Allen Pizzey

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