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Israel Blamed for Airstrike on Syria Military Installation Near Damascus

Syrian state media blamed Israel Thursday for an early morning missile attack on a military installation near Damascus that shook the capital from the force of the blasts.

Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz would not comment directly but said any such strike would be in line with Israel's established policy to interrupt the transfer of weapons to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah from Iran and Syria.

"It absolutely matches our declared policy, a policy that we also implement," Katz told Israel's Army Radio.

Israel is widely believed to have carried out several airstrikes in recent years on advanced weapons systems in Syria — including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles — as well as Hezbollah positions. It rarely comments on such operations.

Image: Explosions and rising flames over Damascus, Syria overnight.
Explosions and rising flames over Damascus, Syria overnight. REUTERS TV / Reuters

The widely-followed Diaries of a Mortar page on Facebook, run by activists in Damascus, reported several explosions near the city's airport at 3:42 a.m. that could be heard and felt across the capital.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency said Israel had fired several missiles from inside the Occupied Golan Heights south of the capital striking a military installation southwest of the airport, which serves both military and civilian flights. It reported several explosions and material damage but no casualties. It was not clear how Israel was identified as the culprit.

The blasts were felt at least 9 miles away.

"The buildings shook from the force of the blast," said a media activist who goes by Salam al-Ghoutawi, of the Ghouta Media Center, in the city's opposition-held northeastern suburbs. He said he heard the roar of jets in the distance at the time of the blasts.

A string of explosions could be seen silhouetted against the night sky in a video published by the Ghouta Media center, with blazing debris flying out of the blast. The light of the explosions illuminated the sizeable blast cloud that took shape nearby.