JERUSALEM, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that Israel played a major role in influencing Russia to cancel its planned sale of a crucial missile system to Syria.
The deal to sell the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Damascus was canceled close to Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Israel on Monday, according to a report published Wednesday in the Russian daily, Vedomisti.
"Putin listened perfectly to what we said," Barak told Army radio, adding that the 100-million-U.S. dollar deal's suspension was the outcome of talks between Russian and Israeli officials.
Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres discussed events in Syria with the Russian leader during his short stay in Israel.
The S-300 is one of the most advanced multi-target anti- aircraft missile systems in the world, with an ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time.
Israel has invested significant diplomatic clout in recent years in trying to convince Moscow to stop selling arms to Syria and Iran.
In the interview, Barak also noted the violent death of senior Hamas member, Kamel Hussein Ranaja, on Wednesday in Damascus. Ranaja was found shot with indications that he had also been tortured.
Ranaja was one of the deputies of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander found dead in a Dubai hotel room in 2010. Dubai police pinned his death on Israel's Mossad intelligence agency.
Although Hamas officials on Thursday also blamed the Mossad for Ranaja's assassination, Barak said it was "not necessarily true" that the Mossad was behind the assassination, but that he would not mourn the Hamas members because he was not "one of the righteous of his generation."
Special Report: Syrian Situation