JERUSALEM, Israel — The Israeli military reportedly launched an airstrike in a neighborhood of Damascus near an Iranian military facility on Sunday — the latest attack in the Jewish state’s “shadow war” against Iran.
The Syrian opposition news agency Orient News claimed the military strikes were aimed at Iranian regime officials in the central Kafar Sousah district of Damascus.
Israeli intelligence and security expert, Brig. Gen. Gen. (Res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, now senior researcher at the Israel Defense Security Forum, told Fox News Digital that “Israel continues to actively undermine and hinder Iranian efforts that [Bashar] Assad regime [in Syria] and Hezbollah with advanced weapons.”
Kuperwasser added: “According to the information I have, some of the casualties in Damascus were a direct result of a Syrian anti-aircraft missile hitting a building. This is not the first time unprofessional Syrian anti-aircraft fire has caused unwanted casualties.”
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In this photo released by the official Syrian news agency SANA, people view the damage in residential areas after an early morning Israeli airstrike in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, February 19, 2023. (AP)
Two Syrian military sources, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to the press, told Portal that stray anti-aircraft missiles fired in response to the missiles had hit near the historic Damascus citadel.
Tehran’s military ally, the Syrian Army, said five people were killed after an Israeli rocket attack hit a building in the Kafar Sousah district of central Damascus.
Media reports in 2015 revealed that Israeli intelligence and the CIA assassinated Iranian-backed global terrorist Imad Mughniyeh in a 2008 car bomb attack in Kafar Sousah. Mughniyeh oversaw terrorist operations for Iran’s key strategic ally, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement.
An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment to Fox News Digital on Sunday’s alleged Israeli airstrike.
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Syrian air defense batteries respond to what Syrian state media described as Israeli missiles on Damascus on January 21, 2019. (Getty)
In addition to the five dead, the Syrian regime-controlled Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported 15 injured and posted a picture of a destroyed building on its Twitter feed.
SANA reported that the Syrian Foreign Ministry said Sunday it “expects the United Nations Secretariat and Security Council to condemn Israeli aggression and crimes, take the necessary measures to deter them, hold them accountable, punish their perpetrators.” and make sure they don’t repeat themselves”.
The reported Israeli Air Force attack came on the same day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Tehran for an attack on an Israeli ship in the Persian Gulf. “Last week, Iran attacked an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, harming international freedom and navigation,” Netanyahu said at a weekly cabinet meeting.
Regional defense and security sources said the alleged attack was carried out by Iran, which did not comment on the incident.
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Esmail Qaani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, speaks in Tehran, December 20, 2022. (Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
While the Israeli government has largely remained silent on the military strikes, Syria has deepened its alliance with the Iranian regime since a 2011 revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s one-man, one-party rule unfolded in the country.
For nearly a decade, Israel has been conducting strikes against alleged Iran-sponsored arms transfers and personnel deployments in neighboring Syria. Israeli officials have acknowledged several hundred military interventions against Iranian assets in Syria while remaining silent on other alleged attacks.
Iran has increased its military and intelligence presence in Syria over the years and has gained a foothold in most state-controlled areas, with thousands of members of militias and local paramilitary groups under its command, Western intelligence sources say.
The Syrian Army claimed that the Israeli military fired rockets at Damascus airport on January 2, killing two soldiers and injuring two others. The Jan. 2 attack was the last reported Israeli attack in the Syrian capital.
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The arrival of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Esmail Qaani, in Syria after earthquakes devastated parts of Syria and Turkey has alarmed the Israeli security apparatus. Video footage circulated by IRGC-affiliated social media channels showed Qaani in Aleppo, Syria. Iranian media denied Qaani was injured or killed in Sunday’s airstrikes.
Israel and its Sunni allies, such as Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, have long expressed concerns about the Iranian regime’s plan to establish a so-called “Shia Crescent” stretching from Iran to Lebanon.
Portal contributed to this report.