Syria accuses Israel of strike near Damascus airport

Damascus (AFP) – Syria accused Israel of triggering a huge explosion near Damascus airport on Thursday by firing several missiles at a military position.

Israel has carried out multiple air strikes in Syria since the country’s civil war erupted in 2011, most of which it has said targeted arms convoys or warehouses of its Lebanese arch-foe Hezbollah, which is a close ally of the Syrian regime.

In line with its usual practice, Israel’s military declined to comment on the latest blast.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said it was consistent with his government’s policy to prevent arms transfers to Hezbollah, but stopped short of confirming his country was behind any attack.

Syria’s state news agency SANA said several Israeli missiles hit near the airport causing material damage.

“A military position southwest of Damascus International Airport was targeted at dawn today by an Israeli aggression using several missiles fired from occupied territory, sparking explosions in the area,” SANA said, citing a military source.

In the terminology of the Syrian regime, occupied territory can refer to Israel inside its internationally recognised borders.

The source did not specify whether the military position belonged to the Syrian army or one its allies.

– ‘Huge fireball’ –

Earlier, Damascus ally Hezbollah said the blast was “probably” the result of an Israeli air strike.

The Lebanese militant group’s Al-Manar television said the raid hit a warehouse and fuel tanks, without specifying whether they were its own or belonged to the Syrian army or another of its allies.

Al-Manar said preliminary reports suggested the blast caused only material damage and no casualties.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said the warehouse was largely empty and “probably” belonged to Hezbollah.

A resident of the Dawwar al-Baytara neighbourhood in the southeast of the capital, who lives in a tower block that looks towards the airport area, said he had seen an…

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