Israeli intelligence says there is evidence that Syrian rebels poisoned several top officials of the Syrian government, including the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad. Despite persistent rumors that the brother-in-law, Asef Shawkat, and other top ministers were killed, Syrian officials have denied that any assassination attempt took place. However, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that their government has "reliable information" that Shawkat and other members of Assad's inner circle were indeed poisoned by a bodyguard during a meal, but that all received quick medical attention and survived.
Members of the opposition group Free Syrian Army began to make claims about the attack on Sunday, saying that they believed that several members of the regime had died as a result. As rumors continued to spread, the government began putting out statements from the minister claiming that they were fine and that the reports were baseless. But some of the ministers who were at the meeting where the poisoning took place have not been seen in public since. Two of the country's main mobile companies took the odd step of texting denials to all their subscribers, a "doth protest too much" move in the eyes of some Syrians.