Israeli jets carry out strikes north of Damascus — reports

Illustrative photo of an IAF F-15 fighter jet flying over Israel during the 'Blue Flag' exercise at Ovda Airfield near Eilat on October 21, 2015. (Israeli Air Force)

Illustrative photo of an IAF F-15 fighter jet flying over Israel during the ‘Blue Flag’ exercise at Ovda Airfield near Eilat on October 21, 2015. (Israeli Air Force)

Raids said to target four trucks loaded with ballistic missiles; no immediate reports of casualties

(SOURCE)  Israeli jets carried out several raids north of Damascus overnight Thursday-Friday, Channel 2 reported, citing foreign reports. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The airstrikes were said to have targeted a four-truck Syrian army convoy, loaded with ballistic missiles.

The Israeli planes struck the vehicles after they left an army base, the reports said.

The Israeli Air Force also reportedly hit a gas supply, sparking massive explosions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday acknowledged the IAF operates in Syria “from time to time” to thwart weapons transfers to Lebanon.

Speaking at the Galilee Conference in Acre, the prime minister praised the Israeli-Russian coordination in Syria, echoing comments from his defense minister in recent days.

“We operate in Syria from time to time to prevent it turning into another front against us. We act, of course, to prevent the transfer of deadly weaponry from Syria to Lebanon,” Netanyahu said.

Israeli airstrikes in Syria have been widely reported over the last almost-five years of the country’s civil war, though officials have refused to confirm them on the record.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on the Golan Heights, northern Israel, June 30, 2015, looking toward Syria. (Eden Moladavski/Ministry of Defense)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on the Golan Heights, northern Israel, looking toward Syria, July 30, 2015. (Eden Moladavski/Ministry of Defense)

The official acknowledgment of the Israeli strikes in Syria was not a first for the prime minister, who said on November 10 that “if Hezbollah wants to transfer weapons through Syria, we’ll take action, as we have.”

On Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel was “keeping an eye out” for the possibility that Hezbollah has attained chemical weapons in Syria.

Ya’alon was responding to unconfirmed reports that Israel has struck sites in Syria five times in recent weeks, despite the presence of a new Russian missile-defense system in the country.

This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a general view of damaged buildings wrecked by an Israeli airstrike, in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, May 5, 2013. Israeli warplanes struck areas in and around the Syrian capital, as they targeted a shipment of highly accurate, Iranian-made guided missiles believed to be on their way to Lebanon's Hezbollah. (Photo credit: AP/SANA)

A general view of damaged buildings wrecked by an Israeli airstrike, in Damascus, Syria, May 5, 2013. Israeli warplanes struck areas in and around the Syrian capital, as they targeted a shipment of highly accurate, Iranian-made guided missiles believed to be on their way to Lebanon’s Hezbollah. (AP/SANA)


Ya’alon insisted that the Russians were aware of what actions in Syria would invite Israeli response and were committed to allowing Israel to take action as necessary.

“We are acting in accordance with needs,” Ya’alon said. “Anyone who infringes on our sovereignty — we act against them. Anyone who attempts to transfer advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations, with an emphasis on Hezbollah — we will not allow it.

“We are, of course, keeping an eye out for the possibility that someone has gotten their hands on chemical weapons,” he added.

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