Israel blamed as blast sparks fires at Damascus airport

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07 May, 2017

According to Syria's state-run news agency Sana, the strikes caused only material damage and resulted in no human casualties.

Israel claims to have intercepted a "projectile" fired from Syria, just hours after an apparent Israeli missile attack on a military installation near Damascus International Airport.

But Israel's transport and intelligence minister Yisrael Katz told Israel's Army Radio that the incident in Damascus was "entirely consistent with our policy of preventing smuggling of weapons to Hezbollah".

Hostilities between Israel and Syria regularly escalate, with Israeli Defense Force (IDF) planes hitting targets in Syria in response to cross-border fire incidents while also attacking groups Israel deems hostile inside the country.

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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".

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Syrian officials immediately blamed Israel for the strikes that targeted weapon warehouses operated by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The source said numerous arms are destined for an array of Iran-backed militias, led by Hezbollah, which have thousands of fighters engaged in some of the toughest fronts against Syrian rebels.

Damascus International Airport is reportedly a major conduit of Iranian arms bound for Hezbollah in Syria. It went to war with Hezbollah in 2006 and the group has grown considerably more powerful since then.

It was not the first Israeli strike, as the Israelis have ramped up their airstrikes on military positions in Syria recently, targeting military base in Qunaitera province in southern Syria this week, as well as a military position near the ancient city of Palmyra last month.

The Syrian aircraft's penetration of Israeli airspace could trigger another military strike from Israel.


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