Israel pounds targets around Damascus as it launches airstrikes against Islamic Jihad terrorists in Syria and the Gaza Strip
- Israel said warplanes launched strikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad group
- Syria said its air defences confronted the strikes launched from Golan Heights
- Israel said it responded to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip Sunday morning
- It said the sites targeted in both Syria and Gaza were used for rocket making
Israel tonight pounded targets surrounding Damascus, prompting a volley of anti-aircraft fire in return, sending tremors through the Syrian capital.
In a rare acknowledgement of operations in neighbouring Syria, Israel said its warplanes attacked targets of the Palestinian militant Islamic Jihad group south of Damascus in addition to sites in the Gaza Strip.
Syria reported an Israeli attack near Damascus International Airport and said its air defences confronted Israeli rockets coming from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. It said the defenders intercepted or shot down most of them.
Residents said multiple explosions shook Damascus for about 15 minutes as air defences fired back.
A ball of fire is seen following an Israel airstrike at Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early on Sunday
In a rare move, the Israeli military claimed responsibility through a spokesman on Twitter, saying it staged a series of strikes targeting the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in Syria and the Gaza Strip
Light in the sky is seen in Damascus as the Syrian defence forces said it shot Israeli rockets from the sky
A rocket is seen in the sky over the Syrian capital of Damascus in the early hours of Monday
The smoke trail of a rocket, fired by Palestinian militants, flying over the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants in Gaza pounded Israel with rockets Sunday after Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian suspected of placing a bomb near the border
Israel said its strikes ‘were carried out in response to the attempted attack this morning on the security fence (in Gaza) and the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel.’
It said the sites attacked were used for ‘research and development of armaments’ that are manufactured in Syria and the Gaza Strip. It said the sites also produce dozens of kilograms of rocket fuel each month.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian conflict, said the explosions resulted from Israeli bombing of suspected Iranian-backed militias in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport.
Israel frequently strikes at targets inside Syria, but has largely refrained from public admissions of its covert military operations there.
Iran is an ally of Damascus and has offered military advisers and sent militiamen and material support to help President Bashar Assad’s government forces in the nine-year civil war.
Israel’s iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel
Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel, in the city of Ashkelon
A ball of fire is seen following an Israel airstrike at Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
Israel considers Iran a national security threat and says it won’t tolerate Iran’s presence on its borders.
In November, Israel targeted two senior Islamic Jihad commanders in a simultaneous attack, killing one in the Gaza Strip and missing the second in Syria.
At the time, Israeli warplanes fired three missiles at the home of Akram al-Ajouri, a member of Islamic Jihad’s leadership living in exile.
He was not harmed, but his son and granddaughter were killed.