The official Syrian Arab News Agency quoted a military official as saying Israeli jets broke the sound barrier flying over northern Syria before dawn Thursday, then ``dropped munitions'' onto deserted areas after being shot at by Syria's air defenses.
Syria did not claim the aircraft bombed its territory, however. Asked if Israel attacked Syria, Cabinet Minister Buthaina Shaaban said only that the aircraft violated Syrian air space.
``We are a sovereign country. They cannot do that,'' Shaaban said on Al-Jazeera television's English service.
This, oddly, makes me suspicious in a different way. It's probably worth tracing how a story the Syrians seem to have been eager to pass over quickly, gradually blew up into something more significant - something connected to the ongoing concerns about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.