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Israel Carries Out Airstrikes South of Damascus

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitIsraeli Air Force F-15 jet. (File)
Israeli Air Force F-15 jet. (File) - Sputnik International
A day earlier, the Syrian Armed Forces Command warned that any aircraft violating the country's airspace would be treated as enemy military targets and immediately shot down.

The Syrian air defence was responding to "hostile targets" over the Damascus area, SANA news agency reported on Sunday.

The Syrian air defence repelled the missiles that exploded in the sky in the south of Damascus, a Sputnik correspondent said later. A Syrian security source also confirmed the missiles were launched by the Israeli military.

The Israeli Defence Forces have also confirmed carrying strikes against Damascus on Twitter. The IDF said it targeted Islamic Jihad positions in Syria.

The Israeli I24 TV reported that an Islamic Jihad commander was killed in the IDF strike in Syria. However, the militant group issued a statement refuting all claims of one of its high-ranking leaders having been killed in Syria.

"At 23:25 pm on Sunday, 23 February 2020, Israeli warplanes from outside our airspace, and over the occupied Syrian Golan, targeted the vicinity of Damascus with more than a wave of guided missiles. [The Syrian air defences] caused the missiles to deviate from their path, destroying most of the remainder before reaching their goals, and the results of the aggression are still being examined", a military source told SANA.

Earlier media reports said explosions were heard in the sky over the Syrian capital.

Alleged videos from Damascus have already emerged on social media.

Meanwhile, the IDF says it has also attacked what it called terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip following at least 21 missiles launched from across the border into southern Israel, 13 of them were intercepted. Israel holds the Islamic Jihad group responsible for the recent attacks. Alleged images from Gaza were also shared on Twitter.

Four Palestinians were wounded because of Israeli rocket attacks on Gaza", a representative of the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

On 13 February, the Syrian air defence reported missiles were fired at the Damascus area from the direction of the Israeli-controlled Syrian Golan Heights. Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu insisted he did not know anything about the airstrikes and suggested it was "the Belgian Air Force".

The strikes come less than a week after a separate Israeli attack on Damascus, in which a Syrian Airbus A320 with 172 people on board had to be diverted to the Russian base in Latakia province, facing the risk of accidental destruction by Syrian air defences, the Russian military said. Moscow accused the Israeli Air Force of making common practice of using unarmed and civilian aircraft as “shields,” adding that this was not the first incident of its kind in recent years.

As of today, Tel Aviv has conducted hundreds of airstrikes against Syria, often firing missiles outside Syria’s airspace from the Golan or Lebanon to try to complicate air defence operations. Israel says it fears that Iran may use its alleged military presence in Syria, which Tel Aviv insists exists, as a launchpad for an attack on Israel.

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