Syrian media blames Israel for air strike on Damascus airport


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syrian media reported that Israel targeted the Damascus International airport with missiles.

The missiles fired on Saturday night activated Syria’s air defense system, which shot down several of the missiles, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported.

“Our air defenses responded to an Israeli missile attack on Damascus international airport and shot down a number of hostile missiles,” a military source told SANA.

The news agency’s website included a video of Syria’s missile defense system intercepting airborne missiles.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said in a report on its website that the suspected Israeli air strikes hit a weapons depot outside the airport, causing considerable damage.

Israel neither confirmed nor denied that it launched such an attack. Israel rarely comments on such reports.

The air strike may have targeted an Iranian plane that landed at the airport believed to be delivering weapons to forces fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s long-running civil war, according to reports.

Earlier this month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Israel attacked a military airbase in Damascus and sites in other Syrian cities, and killing one and injuring four. At the same time, a senior Israeli military official told local media that the Israeli army has carried out 200 airstrikes in Syria in the past 18 months.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to allude to the danger of Iran in Syria at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting where he first spoke about the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. “Forty-five years ago, intelligence erred by holding to a mistaken assessment regarding the war intentions of Egypt and Syria. When these intentions became clear beyond all doubt, and when the danger was on our very doorstep, the political leadership made a grievous mistake by not allowing a pre-emptive strike. We will never repeat this mistake,” he said.

Netanyahu continued: “At the same time, Israel is constantly working to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with advanced weaponry. Our red lines are as sharp as ever and our determination to enforce them is stronger than ever.”

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