Netanyahu denies Israel behind overnight airstrikes in Syria

Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel wasn’t behind reported airstrikes in Syria on Tuesday night.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

“I had nothing to do with it,” was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s abrupt answer when he was congratulated for “the liquidation of Hezbollah members” during a meeting on Wednesday.

Newsweek reported on Tuesday that a number of Hezbollah leaders were targeted in an Israeli airstrike as they were boarding a plane to Iran in Syria’s capital of Damascus.

The magazine also reported that several “Iranian ammunition supply points” were bombed, which contained the most sophisticated, precision-guided ammunition available to Iran’s army and Hezbollah.

Newsweek received its information from a source in the U.S. defense department, who it said had “access to the information from Israeli senior military officers with direct knowledge of the attack.”

Israel’s Channel 12 website Mako reported more details of the attack based on Syrian reports. It listed the targets as an air base in Al-Dimas, west of Damascus, used by Hezbollah, a base of the 4th Division of the Syrian Army in Sabura in the north of the country, and the 10th Division Command in the city of Qatana in the south.

Other targets were also listed.

“Our air defenses confronted hostile missiles launched by Israeli war planes from above the Lebanese territories and downed most of them before reaching their targets,” a Syrian military source said, according to Newsweek.

On Tuesday evening, an Israeli Army spokesman said Israeli air defenses were activated against a missile fired from Syria. No damage or casualties on Israel’s side were reported. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) released a video showing missiles fired by Syrian air defenses from the area around Damascus.

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The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed later Tuesday that Israel’s attacks in Syria put two civilian flights in danger, as reported by Israel’s Ynet news site.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman called it “a provocative act by the Israeli Air Force that directly endangered two passenger planes.”

The Russian spokesman said six Israeli F-16s carried out the attack from Lebanese territory, Ynet reports.

Russian news agency Interfax reported that the Russian Defense Ministry said Syrian air defenses destroyed 14 of 16 missiles launched by Israel.

The attack comes a week after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a pullout of U.S. troops in Syria. Netanyahu said following that announcement that, “We will continue to act to prevent Iran’s effort to militarily entrench itself in Syria, and if needed we will even increase our activities there.”