Israeli jets said to strike Syrian army, Hezbollah sites
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Israeli jets said to strike Syrian army, Hezbollah sites

Important military airport, installations near Damascus reportedly bombed; several Hezbollah fighters killed, sources say

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Illustrative photo of an IAF F-16 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of an IAF F-16 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit/Flash90)

Israeli airstrikes hit an important Syrian regime military airport in Damascus, the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese news network Al Mayadeen claimed Wednesday.

According to the report, the planes struck the Mezzeh Military Airport, located in a suburb of Damascus, around 4 a.m..

Other Arabic media, including al Jazeera and al Arabiya, confirmed that a large explosion had occurred at the airport. Some reports say the fire was caused because a weapons depot exploded.

The Al Mayadeen report noted there had been no official confirmation from the Syrian regime that Israel was responsible, but added “it was almost certain” the explosion was due to IAF airstrikes carried out from Lebanese air space.

A video of the explosion at the airport spread through social media.

Meanwhile, Syrian sources reported that Hezbollah sites near the Syrian capital were also targeted Tuesday night by airstrikes that killed and injured a number of fighters in the Shiite militia.

Some of the reports, citing eyewitnesses, said Israeli fighter planes were responsible for the airstrikes, in the town of al-Zabadani. However, official Hezbollah and Syrian regime sources didn’t initially blame Israel for that attack.

Israeli officials wouldn’t comment on the reports.

The Kurdish website ARA News, citing an eyewitness, said the alleged Israeli airstrikes Tuesday night struck guided missile sites belonging to Hezbollah.

The source told ARA the airstrikes caused “great damage” and killed and injured a number of Hezbollah fighters. The injured were scrambled to hospitals in nearby towns, the report said.

The reported airstrikes come exactly a week after the official website of the Syrian government Sana accused Israel of carrying out bombing raids near Damascus.

Hezbollah has thousands of fighters in Syria, providing military aid to Assad regime and Iranian forces.

In April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israel had carried out dozens of strikes against Hezbollah to prevent the group from obtaining advanced weapons — a rare Israeli admission.

Israel has vowed to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining “game-changing” arms — in particular advanced anti-aircraft systems and chemical weapons.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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