Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The sky is lit up after an explosion at what Syrian state television reported was a military research centre in Damascus. Reuters / Social Media / Handout via Reuters TV
REUTERS TV
The sky is lit up after an explosion at what Syrian state television reported was a military research centre in Damascus. Reuters / Social Media / Handout via Reuters TV

Israeli warplanes 'target missiles' in Syria

Israel's second air strike on Syria in days shook Damascus with a series of powerful blasts and drove columns of fire into the night sky.

BEIRUT // Israel carried out its second air strike in days on Syria early on Sunday, a Western intelligence source said, in an attack that shook Damascus with a series of powerful blasts and drove columns of fire into the night sky.

Israel declined to comment, but Syria accused its neighbour of carrying out a raid on a military facility just north of the capital.

The explosions came soon after an Israeli official said his country had carried out an air strike earlier in the week targeting missiles in Syria intended for the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah.

The target of Sunday's attack, according to Syrian media, was the same Jamraya military research centre which was hit by Israel in another assault in January. Jamraya, on the northern approaches to Damascus, is just 15km from the Lebanese border.

Video footage uploaded onto the internet by activists showed a series of explosions. One lit up the skyline over the city, while another sent up a tower of flames and secondary blasts.

The Western intelligence source said Israel carried out the attack and the operation hit Iranian-supplied missiles which were en route to Hizbollah.

"In last night's attack, as in the previous one, what was attacked were stores of Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to Hizbollah," the source said.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the scale of the attack meant it was beyond the military capability of Syrian rebels, and quoted eyewitnesses in the area as saying they saw jets in the sky at the time of the blasts.

The Observatory said the blasts hit Jamraya as well as a nearby ammunition depot. Other activists said a missile brigade and two Republican Guard battalions may also have been targeted in the heavily militarised area just north of Damascus.

Syria's state television said the strikes were a response to recent military gains by President Bashar Al Assad's forces against rebels. "The new Israeli attack is an attempt to raise the morale of the terrorist groups which have been reeling from strikes by our noble army," it said.

Reports by activists and state media are difficult to verify in Syria because of restrictions on journalists operating there.

If confirmed, Sunday's attack would be Israel's third strike inside Syria since late January, but there was no immediate comment from Israeli officials.

Israel has repeatedly made clear it is prepared to use force to prevent advanced weapons from Syria reaching Lebanon's Shiite Hizbollah guerrillas, who fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006. Mr Al Assad and Hizbollah are allied to Iran, Israel's archenemy.

Uzi Rubin, an Israeli missile expert and former defence official said the Fateh-110 missile "is better than the Scud, it has a half-ton warhead". Iran has said it adapted the missile for anti-ship use by installing a guidance system, he added.

 

 

Reuters

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National