Syria has targeted Scud missiles at Israel, report says

LONDON — Syria has positioned upgraded Scud missiles to hit key Israeli targets, according to an Israeli military intelligence source.

Syria is targeting Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona, all of Israel's airfields and most of the major cities, the source told the London-based newsletter Foreign Report.

The Scud-C missiles have been modified with the aid of Russian experts to make them far more accurate, and they are now also capable of carrying high-explosive chemical cluster bombs, the source said.

Once the Scuds are launched, it will take just three minutes before they reach their targets and, according to the source, it will be virtually impossible for Israel to stop them.

"Even if Israel destroys 50 percent of the Scud launchers in a pre-emptive attack," that would not prevent the launch of the rest of the missiles, the source told Foreign Report.

The intelligence source's assessment contrasts with the Israeli military intelligence agency's annual report. This report, recently presented to the government, insisted that "in Syria the level of preparations for war is low."

The newsletter conceded that the information from the Israeli source might be intended as propaganda against Syria.

It said that Syria has earlier Russian Scud-Bs, but published sources disagree over whether it has received Scud-Cs, which are effectively extended-range versions of Scud-Bs and are produced in North Korea.

However, the newsletter pointed to a 1992 U.S. Defense Department report that said Syria had bought 150 Scud-Cs.

The newsletter said Israel should raise concerns about Syria, but adds: "Our source has been accurate in the past."