Israeli air strikes target Hezbollah sites near Damascus, Syrian reports

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According to Syrian media, Israel allegedly carried out a rare daytime air strike against Hezbollah weapons depots in Damascus on Saturday.

The Syrian state news agency SANA said at least one soldier of the Syrian armed forces was killed and three others injured in the air strike that caused explosions around the capital.

The sites reportedly contained several ammunition depots owned by Hezbollah and other militias affiliated with Iran.

The military base of a division of the Syrian armed forces is also said to have been targeted during the air strikes.

The news comes amid increasing Israeli military activity targeting Iranian proxies in Syria.

Rocket fire is seen over Damascus, Syria, January 21, 2019. (Credit: SANA / HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Two weeks ago, an alleged Israeli air strike targeted Syrian and Iran-backed forces near Palmyra, killing a Syrian soldier. Just a week earlier, the Syrian air defense had been activated in a suspected Israeli attack on the T4 air base near Homs.

Meanwhile, an IAF F-15 fighter jet escorted an American B-1 heavy bomber on Saturday as it crossed Israeli airspace on its way to the Persian Gulf.

The flight of the bomber, commonly known as the “bone”, was part of joint strategic cooperation with US forces in the Middle East.

In March, a US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber flew over the Persian Gulf before the aircraft was spotted in Israel on the way back to its US base.

The transfer could be understood as a message to Iran as US President Joe Biden tries to bring the Islamic Republic back to the negotiating table on the path to nuclear capabilities.

In related news, the IDF dispatched an officer to CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida last week to encourage collaboration. The former major fighter pilot will be stationed in Tampa working on better coordination between Israel and the US military. The Jewish state now falls under the jurisdiction of CENTCOM as part of a reshuffle by the Trump administration.


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