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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Syria: Israel launched missile attack on Damascus airport

An Israeli military official says it has struck over 200 Iranian targets in Syria over the past 18 months

A handout photo from the Syria's Arab News Agency shows a missile over Damascus International Airport on 15 September 2018. EPA
A handout photo from the Syria's Arab News Agency shows a missile over Damascus International Airport on 15 September 2018. EPA

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that his country is taking action to stop its foes from acquiring sophisticated arms, hours after Damascus said Israeli missiles targeted its airport.

Israel has not officially confirmed or denied a report by Syrian state news agency Sana of an attack late Saturday on Damascus international airport.

"Israel is constantly working to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with advanced weaponry," Mr Netanyahu's office quoted him as saying at the start of his cabinet's weekly meeting.

"Our red lines are as sharp as ever and our determination to enforce them is stronger than ever."

Syrian state media said that air defences had shot down some of the projectiles. A war monitoring group said the attack targeted an arms depot for Iranian forces or Lebanon's Hezbollah group.

Explosions during the attack were heard across Damascus. Sana posted pictures showing what appeared to be air defences firing into the air.

State media quoted an unidentified military official as reporting the attack but gave no further details.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the attack targeted an arms depot near the airport where new weapons recently arrived for the Iranians or Lebanon's Hezbollah group. The monitoring group had no immediate word on casualties, saying the strike did cause material damage.

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Israel rarely acknowledges attacks inside Syria, but has said it would use military action to prevent weapons transfers to its enemies.

Earlier this month, an Israeli military official said it has struck over 200 Iranian targets in Syria over the past 18 months.

Israel is believed to have been behind a series of airstrikes mainly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria that have joined the country's war fighting alongside the government but it rarely confirms any involvment in strike.

An Israeli official said earlier this month that the targets were connected to Iran's elite Al Quds force and included air force components, support infrastructure, and weapons storage and manufacturing facilities.

US and Israeli officials have said that Iran and Hezbollah should end their armed presence in Syria. Israel says it is alarmed by the expansion of operations by Iran and Hezbollah in Syria.