Israeli airstrike kills 2 near Damascus amid series of attacks — Syrian state media

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Two Syrian civilians were killed in an Israeli airstrike near Damascus early Tuesday, Syrian state media said.

The incident was the fourth airstrikes attributed to Israel to strike targets in Syria in less than a week, and came six days after the Israeli Air Force downed a suspected Iranian drone in Israeli airspace.

“At 00:15 the enemy of Israel carried out an airstrike… and two civilians were killed as a result of the attack,” the Syrian state news agency SANA said, citing a military source.

The report said the attack came from the direction of the Golan Heights and targeted several locations around the capital Damascus and the “southern region”.

SANA earlier reported “an explosion heard in the vicinity of Damascus.”

Other airstrikes attributed to Israel in the past week have hit targets near Damascus and the central province of Homs.

Five soldiers were wounded in one of the recent attacks near the capital, and two others were wounded, Syrian media said. Aleppo International Airport was hit by another wave of airstrikes in the past month, and its runway was temporarily closed.

Several reports have said the string of air trips may be linked to last month’s suspected Hezbollah terror bombing near Megiddo in northern Israel, which Jerusalem believes was carried out by a terrorist who crossed the Lebanese border fence using a ladder. One man was seriously injured in the attack.

As a general rule, the Israeli military does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but it has admitted to sending hundreds of sorties against Iranian-backed groups trying to gain a foothold in the country over the past decade.

The IDF says it also attacks weapons shipments believed to be bound for those groups, including Hezbollah. In addition, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

File: An IAF F-15I fighter jet of the 69th squadron takes off from Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, during a pilot graduation ceremony, June 22, 2022. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

On Monday, a military source said Iran appeared to be behind the launch of a drone that was brought down over Israeli airspace this week.

The interception came shortly after Iranian state media reported that an Iranian adviser who was wounded in an Israeli airstrike in Syria over the weekend had died of his wounds. That was the second Iranian adviser allegedly killed by Israel in the airstrike.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned Iran and the Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah on Sunday that Israel would not accept any attempts to harm the country or its citizens.

“We will not let the Iranians or Hezbollah harm us. We have not allowed it in the past, we will not allow it now, or at any time in the future,” Gallant said. He also accused Iran of trying to secure its presence along Israel’s borders.

“When necessary, we will push them out of Syria to where they belong. And that is Iran,” Gallant said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, “For the past few days we have been acting outside our borders against regimes that support terror and plot our destruction.”

Israel considers Iran its greatest enemy, citing the country’s hostile rhetoric, support for terror groups such as Hezbollah, and its suspected nuclear program. Iran denies Western allegations that it is pursuing a nuclear bomb.

Also last week, Greece announced the arrest of two Pakistani workers it said were planning an attack on a Jewish center in Athens. Israel has said that Iran was behind the incident.

Separately, a rare car bombing hit Damascus on Sunday, with no deaths reported and no side claiming responsibility.

AFP contributed to this report.

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