Israel struck multiple targets near the Syrian capital late Sunday, triggering anti-aircraft fire from the country's air defenses that shook Damascus. It was the latest attack by Israel on the war-ravaged country.
A Syrian military statement reported an Israeli attack near Damascus International Airport and said its air defenses confronted Israeli rockets coming from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. It said the defenders intercepted or shot down most of them.
In a rare acknowledgment of operations in neighboring Syria, Israel said its warplanes attacked targets of the Palestinian militant Islamic Jihad group south of Damascus in addition to sites in the Gaza Strip. It said the sites attacked were used for "research and development of armaments" that are manufactured in Syria and the Gaza Strip. It said the sites also produce dozens of kilograms of rocket fuel each month.
The military said the attacks "were carried out in response to the attempted attack this morning on the security fence (in Gaza) and the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel."
According to Syrian media reports, explosions were heard in the Syrian capital as missiles were fired from the area of the Golan Heights.
The UK based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Israel was behind the attack that targeted Iranian assets near the Damascus airport.
A Syrian airforce cargo plane arrived in Tehran Sunday and later returned to Damascus.
Israel issued a ban on civilian aircraft in the Golan Heights region to fly over 5,000 feet as of Sunday and through the end of the month.
This is not the first time this month that airstrikes in Syria have been attributed to Israel.
Satellite images released last Monday showed significant damage to warehouses and office buildings at Damascus International Airport, following airstrikes the previous Thursday attributed to Israel.
The photographs released by ImageSat International show that several warehouses, apparently used to store weapons that were flown into Syria from Iran, were destroyed in the strikes along with multiple buildings used as headquarters for the operations at the site.
In addition, a hangar was damaged during the attack.
ImageSat says the shelter was “probably used for storing ammunition or missiles.”
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war, said seven people were killed in the attack that targeted posts for Iranian-backed militias in the area between the Damascus international airport and the Sayeda Zeinab neighborhood, south of the capital.