Syrian state television said Israeli rockets had struck a military research center on the outskirts of the capital city. Other sources say Israel hit Iranian Fateh-110 surface to surface missiles on route to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah’s Manar television station reported, citing security sources in Damascus, that an Israeli warplane was shot down by Syrian air-defense units during the raid. There was no independent confirmation of the claim and Israel did not comment on the raid reports.
In response to the Syrian clain, the Free Syria Media Hub (sarcastically?) claimed on Twitter, “#sana tv crew caught painting an old mig fighter tail with israeli airforce markings near #damascus”. Sana is the Syrian government controlled TV station.
The blasts took place two days after the IAF had carried out an air strike targeting a cache of missiles in Syria intended for delivery to the Hezbollah in Lebanon. The “research center” hit Sunday morning was also targeted by Israel in January.
“Initial information indicates that the explosions at the scientific research center in Jamraya near Damascus were caused by Israeli missiles,” the official SANA news agency reported. It offered no further details.
Damascus residents reported hearing massive blasts at 1:50 AM Sunday.
“There was a large explosion. We first felt shakes like an earthquake and 30 seconds later heard gunfire,” one resident told The Daily Star by telephone from the Syrian capital.
“There was an electricity cut then a large boom. The door of my balcony opened from the after effect,” another resident said, adding that warplanes could be heard overhead.
Video footage uploaded by activists shows a huge ball of fire rising into the night sky.
“The new Israeli attack is an attempt to raise the morale of the terrorist groups which have been reeling from strikes by our noble army,” Syrian television said, referring to recent offensives by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against rebels.
There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials on Sunday’s explosions. “We don’t respond to this kind of report,” an Israeli military spokeswoman told Reuters.
The U.S. State Department also had no immediate comment.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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