ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Syria says Aleppo airport forced to shut after Israeli airstrike; 1 soldier killed

Syrian media says another seven wounded in attack on northern city, which comes after several alleged IAF strikes in Syria in recent weeks

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows the damage after an alleged Israeli strike targeting the Aleppo International Airport in Aleppo, Syria, September 7, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
File: This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows the damage after an alleged Israeli strike targeting the Aleppo International Airport in Aleppo, Syria, September 7, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

Israel launched airstrikes against the airport in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Monday night, killing one soldier and leaving seven others wounded, Syrian state media reported.

Syria’s state news agency, SANA, said the Israeli Air Force warplanes targeted the Aleppo International Airport and other sites on the outskirts of the city.

It said the airport was out of service due to heavy damage caused by the strikes.

The attacks left one Syrian soldier dead, and wounded another five soldiers and two civilians, SANA said.

Footage circulating online showed explosions in the night sky.

SANA reported that Syrian air defenses responded to the Israeli incursion, claiming to have downed several missiles. Syria regularly claims to intercept Israeli missiles, though military analysts doubt such assertions.

While Israel’s military does not as a rule comment on specific strikes in Syria, it has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country, over the last decade.

The IDF says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

There have been a number of alleged Israeli strikes in Syria in recent weeks, including against targets near the western city of Homs on Saturday, and sites near the border with the Golan Heights on April 24 and April 19.

Israel is alleged to have carried out a number of strikes in Syria last month, including one that killed two members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. After that strike, a suspected Iranian drone launched from Syria was brought down over Israeli airspace.

And several days later, six rockets were launched from southern Syria at the Golan Heights in two separate barrages hours apart, with three landing in Israeli territory, the military said. The IDF responded with artillery strikes in response to the rocket attack.

A fire is seen burning in footage purportedly from the Syrian city of Homs, following an alleged Israeli airstrike, April 29, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)

On Friday, Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited Lebanon’s border with Israel, taking a tour of the area with Hezbollah and Lebanese parliamentarians, after a meeting with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

During the visit, Amir-Abdollahian predicted that “positive developments in the region will lead to the collapse of the Zionist entity.”

Aleppo International Airport was hit with two separate airstrikes attributed to Israel in March, and forced to shut its runway for several days following the pair of attacks. A similar attack in September forced the airport to close for a number of days.

Last August, Syria accused Israel of being behind two consecutive airstrikes at Aleppo International and a site near the Damascus Airport, as Israel was said to be ramping up its efforts to target airports to counter Tehran’s growing use of commercial flights to bring military supplies into the country.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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