Netanyahu Confirms Israel Hit Iranian Targets in Syria

Smoke rises past a mountain as seen from the Damascus countryside, Syria, Dec. 25, 2018. (Reuters/Omar Sanadiki)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed that Israeli planes had attacked Iranian warehouses in southern Syria over the weekend. Speaking at the start of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu, during an official farewell to outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott, said that he and the CoS “have worked together to prevent the establishment of Iranian military forces in Syria. In the framework of that effort the IDF has hit targets there hundreds of times. Under your leadership, we have achieved many goals. Just in the past 36 hours the IDF hit Iranian targets in Damascus.”

Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gadi Eizenkot attends the weekly cabinet meeting, Sunday. (Ariel Schalit/Pool via Reuters)

Syrian sources on Saturday said that Israeli missiles were fired at southern Syria late Friday. The Syrian sources said that anti-missile defense systems were activated and shot down at least eight Israeli missiles, causing loud explosions to be heard around Damascus.

Syrian human rights groups said that the Israeli missiles hit several targets in the area of the Damascus airport, among them warehouses containing weapons belonging to Hezbollah and Iran. Foreign news reports also quoted a Syrian military official who confirmed that targets in the area of the airport had been hit. Israel has not commented on the report.

Hadashot News reported that several hours before the alleged Israeli attack, a large arms shipment arrived in Damascus from Iran. Satellite images from earlier in the day Friday showed the plane landing and being unloaded. The warehouses where the weapons were stored have been hit by Israeli missiles at least three times in the past, indicating that the warehouses were used specifically to store Iranian weapons.