Friday, 22 March, 2019

Benjamin Netanyahu admits Israel to blame for Damascus strikes

‘We struck thousands of targets’: IDF chief of staff on Israel’s ‘near-daily’ strikes in Syria Tunnel used for militant attacks had stairs and rail system, Israel says
Ellis Copeland | 14 January, 2019, 17:34

Israel's airstrike on what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed were Iranian "weapons depots" at Syria's Damascus airport over the weekend may have also targeted and wounded members of Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps leadership, according to a report by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida.

Speaking Sunday at an Israeli Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said: "Just in the last 36 hours the air force attacked Iranian warehouses containing Iranian weapons in the Damascus global airport".

Long wary of publicity around its operations against Iran-linked targets on its northern front, Israel has lifted the veil in recent days - a sign of confidence in a campaign waged amid occasional tensions with Syria's big-power backer, Russia.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu said the country has been taking action with impressive success to arrest Iran's military entrenchment in Syria.

Israel has until now generally refrained from commenting about the strikes for fear of triggering a reaction and being drawn into the deadly fighting in neighbouring Syria's civil war. He will be replaced on Tuesday by Maj.

In February previous year, Syrian anti-aircraft missiles downed an Israeli F-16 fighter jet carrying out a raid over Damascus.

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It reached a few dozen metres into Israel, and at 55 metres underground was the deepest as well as "the longest and most detailed" of all the tunnels the army exposed, Conricus said.

The operation had raised concerns that Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shia group and avowed enemy of Israel, would respond and spark a new conflict between them, but the border has remained calm throughout, AFP said. Meanwhile, Israel's outgoing army chief also confirmed that Tel Aviv has conducted thousands of airstrikes inside Syria over the past two years, without claiming responsibility.

Eisenkot also revealed that the government approved his shift in strategy in January 2017, stepping up air strikes in Syria.

Although there are more tunnels on the Lebanese side of the border, the military says this effectively marks the end of the operation. Conricus says the United Nations peacekeeping mission, known as UNIFIL, had been updated on the latest development.

A man stands next to a drill as Israeli military personnel continue work on exposing and thwarting cross-border tunnels dug from Lebanon into Israel near the town of Metula December 19, 2018. He said this was part of a Hezbollah plan to send as many as 1,500 fighters to infiltrate Israeli border communities during any future war.

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