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Netanyahu confirms Israeli strikes targeting ‘Iranian warehouses’ in Syria

This frame grab from a video provided by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows missiles flying into the sky near Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel was behind a series of airstrikes targeting “Iranian warehouses” at Syria’s Damascus international airport overnight Friday.

“The [Israel Defense Forces] has on hundreds of occasions attacked targets of Iran and Hezbollah,” Netanyahu said at the opening of his weekly cabinet meeting.

“Just in the last 36 hours did the [Israel Air Force] attack Iranian warehouses with Iranian weapons at the international airport in Damascus," the premier said.

"The backlog of recent attack proves that we are more determined than ever to act against Iran in Syria,” he added.

On Friday, Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the country’s air defenses intercepted missiles fired at the Damascus international airport at around 11:00 p.m. local time, with a military source attributing the attack to Israel.

The source claimed that a warehouse belonging to Syria’s ministry of transport was hit and damaged.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said that the strikes targeted “two areas hosting military positions of Iranian forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.”

Israel gave no initial comment on Friday’s reported strikes, but has previously acknowledged carrying out hundreds of attacks in Syria over the years against what it says are Iranian military targets and advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

On Saturday, the Syrian foreign ministry said that Israel was able to “get away” with such raids in the country because it is backed by the United States.

The United States has said repeatedly that it will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Iran and Hezbollah, including through targeted strikes in Syria, in the wake of its decision to remove American forces from the country.

The abruptly announced decision to quit Syria had taken US allies by surprise, and Israel worried over whether Iran would be left with free rein to operate there and whether Russia would respond to its calls to limit it.

Netanyahu has vowed to intensify Israeli action in the wake of the United States’ withdrawal.


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