Da­m­as­cus air de­fence downs Is­raeli mis­siles

The Straits Times - - WORLD -

DA­M­AS­CUS An Is­raeli mis­sile attack tar­geted the Syr­ian cap­i­tal’s air­port, ac­ti­vat­ing air de­fences that shot down a num­ber of the pro­jec­tiles, state news agency Sana re­ported.

“Our air de­fences re­sponded to an Is­raeli mis­sile attack on Da­m­as­cus In­ter­na­tional Air­port and shot down a num­ber of hos­tile mis­siles,” a mil­i­tary source quoted by Sana said. The agency, with­out giv­ing any in­for­ma­tion on ca­su­al­ties or dam­age, posted footage and images of the air de­fences be­ing ac­ti­vated last Satur­day night.

In a shaky video, a small, bright ex­plo­sion is seen in the night sky, with city lights in the dis­tance.

Agence France-Presse’s (AFP) correspondent in Da­m­as­cus heard a loud blast late last Satur­day, fol­lowed by sev­eral smaller ex­plo­sions. The Is­raeli mil­i­tary de­clined to com­ment on the in­ci­dent.

The Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, a Bri­tain-based war mon­i­tor, said last Satur­day’s strikes hit a weapons de­pot out­side the air­port. “The mis­siles, sus­pected to be Is­raeli, de­stroyed an arms ware­house near the Da­m­as­cus In­ter­na­tional Air­port,” Ob­ser­va­tory head Rami Ab­del Rah­man told AFP. He had no im­me­di­ate in­for­ma­tion on ca­su­al­ties.

Is­rael has vowed to pre­vent its arch-foe Iran, which is a main backer of Syria’s gov­ern­ment, from gain­ing a foothold in neigh­bour­ing war-torn Syria.

Ear­lier this month, Is­rael ac­knowl­edged hav­ing car­ried out more than 200 strikes in Syria over the past 18 months, mainly against Ira­nian tar­gets. It has also admit­ted to strik­ing Syria to pre­vent what it says are de­liv­er­ies of ad­vanced weaponry to Le­banon’s Hizbol­lah, an armed move­ment backed by Iran and which fights along­side Syr­ian troops.

The last re­ported Is­raeli strikes on Syria took place on Sept 4, when Syr­ian state me­dia said the mil­i­tary’s air de­fences downed sev­eral mis­siles in the coastal prov­ince of Tar­tus and i n cen­tral Hama.

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