Third reported strikes carried out in week’s time; Reports confirm Iranian/Hezbollah arms depot hit in strikes; Intelligence Minister: We must prevent Iran from establishing a military presence in Syria.
The Israel Air Force carried out airstrikes close to the Damascus International airport early Thursday morning. The strikes targeted major Iranian arms depots of weapons for Hezbollah, Syrian rebel forces reporting several explosions on warehouses.
Hezbollah’s al-Manar station reported that Israel carried out several strikes after 3:00 AM, reporting several explosions, with Syria’s state-owned media, Sana, reporting large explosions on a fuel tank and warehouses.
The arms depots targeted a “significant amount of weapons that Tehran… sends regularly by air”. The area is known for weapons supplies from Tehran through cargo and commercial plane deliveries.
The IDF refused to comment on the reports, a spokesman from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stating Thursday morning “We can’t comment on such reports,” consistent with the IDF’s position to not confirm or deny reports on covert operations in Syria.
However, in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio Thursday morning, Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz stated when asked on the attacks, “Every time we receive intelligence information on plans to transfer advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, we will act. We must prevent Iran from establishing a military presence in Syria,” indirectly confirming the IDF airstrikes.
On Tuesday, a senior intelligence officer of the IDF confirmed that Israel’s strikes in Syria earlier this week destroyed approximately 100 Hezbollah rockets. The IDF retaliated after three mortar shells landed into Israeli territory from Syria on Friday, the IDF hitting the sources of fire. The projectiles were not targeted at Israel, but a spillover from infighting between Assad’s regime and rebel factions. On Sunday, additional airstrikes were reported on the Nabe’ al-Fawar base targeting pro-Assad militia.