Syrian media claim Israeli aircraft bombed Damascus airport

Late last month, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the IDF only carries out raids in Syria for three reasons: when Israel comes under fire, to prevent arms transfers, and to avert a "ticking timebomb", namely to thwart imminent terror attacks on Israel by groups on its borders.

She says "Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria" and calls on everyone to "act within the framework of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria".

Meanwhile, air strikes on two hospitals in rebel-held northwestern Syria yesterday left 10 people dead including two babies in incubators, a monitor said.

Civil war broke out in Syria in 2011 after an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad but escalated as militant groups and regional players such as Iran, Turkey Russia and Israel became involved.

Israel has repeatedly warned against "game-changing" weapons reaching Hezbollah from Syria, which along with Iran supports the militant group.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, speaking from the United States where he has been meeting U.S. officials, told Israeli Army Radio: "I can confirm that the incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel's policy to act to prevent Iran's smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah in Iran". He said he heard the roar of jets in the distance at the time of the blasts.

Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the foundation, said he tracked a fourth cargo flight from Iran to Syria on Wednesday night, an Airbus A300 operated by Mahan Air, which is suspected of ties to Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

Hezbollah is an avowed enemy of Israel, and the two sides fought a monthlong war in 2006. The Civil Defense reported the same overall death toll. It speculated the blast was likely caused by an Israeli strike.

Damascus airport was also hit by Israel in May 2013.

Official statements by the Syrian government did not mention if there would be any retaliation.

The Syrian State News Agency (SANA) cited a military source as saying that the strikes had targeted a military position near the airport, and that rockets had been fired from Israel.

The dawn explosion has also been reported by other activists' networks but the source was unclear.

Israel shot down "a target" over the Golan Heights, hours after it was accused of a missile strike at a military site near Damascus global airport.

On January 13, Syria accused Israel of bombing Mazzeh airbase in the western suburbs of the capital.

  • Leroy Wright