NEWS DESK | Israel has reportedly struck targets in Damascus belonging to either Hezbollah or Iran. Syria claims it shot down an Israeli plane. what happened? Our Jonathan Regev has the story.
In overnight air strike in Syria attributed to Israel targeted several senior Hezbollah leaders as they boarded a plane bound for Iran, the Newsweek magazine reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed Department of Defense official.
Syria’s state media outlet SANA said late Tuesday evening that the country’s air defenses were activated over Damascus in response to ‘enemy targets’, without providing further details.Shortly after, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement that its own air defenses had fired at a Syrian anti-aircraft missile. No injuries or damages occurred.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor attributed the strike to Israel, saying that ‘missiles fired from Israeli planes targeted… arms depots southwest and south of Damascus that belong to Hezbollah or Iranian forces.’
The Syrian military subsequently told SANA that Israeli airstrikes targeted a weapons depot, injuring three regime soldiers.
A US Department of Defense official was later cited by American publication Newsweek as saying that the Israeli strikes targeted Iran-bound Hezbollah leaders in addition to several Iranian weapons depots.
The unnamed source told the publication he had received the information from top Israeli military officials.
Reports connected the alleged Israeli strikes to the arrival of an Iranian cargo plane in Damascus earlier on Tuesday. An aircraft belonging to Iran’s Fars Air Qeshm — a firm which has been accused of ferrying arms into Syria and Lebanon — landed in Damascus at around 7:00 p.m. local time, three hours before the air strikes began.
The strikes appear to be the first Israeli raids in Syria since the US announced the withdrawal of 2,000 troops from the country, a force which had in part been charged with keeping Iranian-backed fighters in check.
Israel has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian military targets and advanced weapons deliveries to Hezbollah.
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