Benjamin Netanyahu admits Israel to blame for Damascus strikes

Syrian air defense systems intercept Israeli missiles in the skies near Damascus late

On Friday, Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the country's air defenses intercepted missiles fired at the Damascus global airport at around 11:00 p.m. local time, with a military source attributing the attack to Israel.

The United States has said repeatedly that it will continue to support Israel's right to defend itself against Iran and Hezbollah, including through targeted strikes in Syria, in the wake of its decision to remove American forces from the country.

The last such missile attack was carried out on December 25, 2018, during which the Israeli warplanes fired missiles on Syrian military depots in the western countryside of Damascus from inside the Lebanese airspace.

Netanyahu added that Israel had attacked Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria hundreds of times, AFP news agency reported.

According to the prime minister, Israel has attacked Iranian weapons depots at the Damascus International Airport in Syria. The jet crashed in northern Israel and both pilots parachuted out before the impact.

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But with that civil war winding down, Israeli security officials fear Hezbollah is refocusing its attention on Israel. He said the military had carried out over 200 strikes in Syria over the preceding year and a half.

After keeping a low profile throughout most of his term, Eisenkot gave a series on interviews over the weekend focusing on his shifting the military's attention toward Iran directly, instead of just engaging its lesser proxies, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza.

Many of them have been in the area south of Damascus. Israel rarely comments on its operations so Mr Netanyahu's admission is rare.

The outgoing IDF chief of staff has acknowledged that Israel has been bombing Syria on a "near-daily" basis for years, in a massive military campaign allegedly aimed at degrading Tehran's supposed military buildup in the region. In 2018 alone, he said Israel's air force dropped 2,000 bombs in Syria.

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