December 27, 2018
An Israeli security official has confirmed Wednesday evening that Israel carried out an overnight airstrike in Syria, saying a series of Iranian targets were hit.
The official says the airstrike hit Iranian storage and logistic targets being used to transfer weapons to the Hezbollah militant group. The official said Israel also took out a Syrian anti-aircraft battery near Damascus that fired at the Israeli warplanes.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity under standard security protocols. The Israeli military has not commented on the incident.
Israeli aircrafts struck an arms depot west of Syria’s capital city of Damascus from Lebanese airspace, Syrian state media reported Tuesday. According to reports, three Syrian soldiers were wounded in the attack which targeted Hezbollah depots.
A report in the American weekly Newsweek said several senior Hezbollah officials were wounded in the alleged attack.
Citing a Department of Defense source familiar with the details of the attack via senior Israeli representatives, the report said Israeli aircrafts struck a few minutes after the officials had gotten on board a plane to Iran.
On Wednesday, Russia criticized the airstrikes, saying they had endangered civilian flights.
The ministry did not specify which flights had been threatened but said one of the flights was landing in Beirut and the other in Damascus. It added that Syrian air defences had destroyed 14 of 16 Israeli missiles launched against unspecified targets near Damascus by six Israeli F-16s on Tuesday.
The Israeli official said, however, that Israel alerted Russia about the airstrikes ahead of time.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to Israel’s activity in the north, saying Israel will not allow an Iranian entrenchment in Syria. “We will act against it vigorously and continuously including during the current period,” he said at an Israel Air Force graduation ceremony.
“In the history of the Middle East, there has never been aerial activity such as this. Aircraft ascend and descend, take off and land, and reach arenas both near and far, very far.”
According to Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria “does not change our policy. We stand by our red lines in Syria and anywhere else.”
Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry responded to the alleged Israeli air raids later on Wednesday, saying the strikes posed a danger to commercial air traffic that could have caused a major civil aviation disaster.
Israel has previously confirmed carrying out scores of airstrikes in Syria, mostly believed to be aimed at suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah.