US intelligence analysts have concluded that a recent Israeli airstrike on a warehouse in Syria did not succeed in destroying all of the Russian-made anti-ship cruise missiles that were its target, and therefore further Israeli strikes are likely.
Israel carried out an attack July 5 near Latakia to destroy the missiles, which Russia had sold to Syria. Although the warehouse was destroyed, US intelligence analysts have now concluded that at least some of the Yakhont missiles had been removed from their launchers and moved from the warehouse before the attack.
The officials who described the new assessment declined to be identified.
Some Syria Missiles Eluded Israeli Strike, Officials Say
After the Israeli attack, the Assad government sought to hide the fact that the missiles had been missed by setting fire to launchers and vehicles at the site to create the impression of a devastating blow, according to American intelligence reports.
The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment. Israel has a longstanding policy of silence on pre-emptive military strikes.
Another factor that could lead to a military response by Israel is the continuing flow of weapons to the Assad government, some of which Israel fears may make its way to Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.
Russia, American officials say, recently sent SA-26 antiaircraft missiles to Syria, and it is also believed to be sending technical experts to help set up the system.