Western military and intelligence sources report that Israeli Air Force strikes in Lebanon and Syria overnight Monday, Feb. 24 came on the heels of the first use in the three-year Syrian war of a Russian-made nuclear-capable Tochka (Point) surface missile – NATO-coded SS-21 Scarab – which carries a 480-kilo warhead with a range of 70 km. These missiles were fired earlier Monday in the Syrian-Hizballah battle for Yabroud. There was no information about the effect of the Israeli strikes.
According to Lebanese sources, however, the target was a cluster of five Hizballah bases or command posts in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley. Hizballah casualties were reported.
That was one Lebanese version of the incident. In the absence of independent confirmation or official information, different sources offered a variety of alternative targets.
Some sources named them as missile-launchers fired from Lebanon in support of the Hizballah-Syrian army battle for the strategic town of Yabroud, the last Syrian rebel stronghold in the Qalamoun Mts just across the Syrian border. This town, 80 kilometers north of Damascus, has held out against two months of vicious combat.