(NYTIMES) — The airstrike that Israeli warplanes carried out in Syria was directed at a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that Israel believed was intended for Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese organization, American officials said Saturday.

It was the second time in four months that Israel had carried out an attack in foreign territory intended to disrupt the pipeline of weapons from Iran to Hezbollah, and the raid was a vivid example of how regional adversaries are looking after their own interests as Syria becomes more chaotic.

Iran and Hezbollah have both backed President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, now in its third year. But as fighting in Syria escalates, they also have a powerful stake in expediting the delivery of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in case Mr. Assad loses his grip on power.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.