Israel used depleted uranium shells in the alleged strike in Syria on Sunday, a senior Syrian military source told Russia Today on Monday.
“When the explosion happened it felt like an earthquake, then a giant golden mushroom of fire appeared. This tells us that Israel used depleted uranium shells,” the source said.
Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the production of enriched uranium for use in nuclear reactors. It is 2.5 times as dense as steel, which allows it to penetrate heavy protection. The material is known to be toxic, but not dangerously radioactive.
Syrian state television claimed the bombing occurred around a military research facility at Jamraya. The New York Times reported that the strike also targeted the bases of the elite Republican Guard and storehouses of long-range missiles.
The senior official speaking to RT downplayed the strategic importance of the weapons targeted in the attack, saying the military losses were “negligible” and that valuable equipment was removed from the site of attack after a previous strike.
“The target was just an ordinary weapons warehouse. The bombing is an ultimatum to us – it had no strategic motivation,” he was quoted by RT as saying.
A Western intelligence source told Reuters the attack targeted “stores of Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to Hezbollah,” while a senior Hezbollah source denied to Kuwaiti daily Alrai on Monday that the weapons targeted belonged to his organization.
Another high-ranking Syrian military source told the Timesthat dozens of elite troops stationed near the presidential palace in Damascus were killed in the Israel strike.
A doctor at the Syrian military’s Tishreen Hospital said there were at least 100 dead soldiers and many dozens more wounded, the Times reported.
The Syrian military official accused Israel of working with opposition forces trying to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying the strike had targeted members of the Republican Guard in an area of Damascus where rebels have made few inroads.
Israel has not commented on two airstrikes early Sunday morning and early Friday, that it allegedly carried out according to foreign media reports.
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