Israel targets Hezbollah arms depot in Syria

Israel has refused to confirm or deny that it was responsible for the blast, but Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said such a strike would be in line with Israeli policy.

A loud explosion hit close to the Damascus International Airport in Syria Thursday, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

When Syria fired an anti-aircraft missile into Israel in late March, Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared to Israeli media, "The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation".

The strikes prompted Syria to launch retaliatory ground to air missiles, one of which was intercepted over Israeli territory in the most serious flare-up between the two neighbours since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.

Sana said several missiles had been fired at a military site south-west of the airport, causing explosions that resulted in some material losses. Pro-government site Damascus Now said the explosion was near the city's Seventh Bridge, which leads to the airport road.

His statement was echoed by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who said, "Gross violations of Syrian sovereignty, no matter how they are justified, are unacceptable", she said, adding that "Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria".

The Israeli military said it deployed its Patriot missile defence system to tackle the projectile incoming from Syria above the Golan Heights. No casualties have been reported so far, and Israeli officials offered a rare confirmation for the attack, saying it was "in keeping with" Israeli policy. It went to war with Hezbollah in 2006 and the group has grown considerably more powerful since then.

Hezbollah, considered by Israel a terrorist organization, was established in the 1980s in Lebanon.

Al-Manar is affiliated with Hezbollah, an ally of the Syrian government.

In 2016, a drone entered Israeli airspace from Syria, reaching several kilometers into Israel.

However, Channel1iba's Amichai Stein reported multiple military personnel were killed in the strike.

  • Tracy Klein