Israeli missile hits building in central Damascus five dead

Israeli missile hits building in central Damascus, five dead –

AMMAN, Feb 19 (Portal) – An Israeli rocket attack hit a building in the central Kafr Sousa district near a large, heavily guarded security complex near Iranian facilities early Sunday, killing five people, witnesses and officials said.

The rare, well-aimed strike damaged several buildings in the densely populated neighborhood near Umayyad Square in the heart of the capital, where multi-storey security buildings are located in residential areas.

A police official said in state media there were several casualties and injuries.

A spokesman for the Israeli military declined to comment.

Citing a military source, state media said Israel carried out airstrikes on several areas in the capital just after midnight, killing five and injuring 15 civilians and damaging several residential buildings.

“It caused damage to several civilian houses and material damage in a number of neighborhoods in and around Damascus,” the army said in a statement.

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It was not immediately clear if the strike was aimed at a specific person.

The top commander of pro-Iranian Hezbollah, Imad Moughniyeh, was killed in a 2008 bomb attack in Kafr Sousa, a heavily patrolled area that residents say is home to several Iranian security agencies, including a major cultural center.

For nearly a decade, Israel has been conducting airstrikes against suspected Iranian-sponsored arms transfers and personnel deployments in neighboring Syria. Israeli officials have rarely acknowledged responsibility for specific operations.

Iran has increased its military presence in Syria in recent years, gaining a foothold in most state-controlled areas, with thousands of members of militias and local paramilitary groups under its command, Western intelligence sources say.

Israel has also ramped up attacks on Syrian airports and airbases in recent months to disrupt Iran’s increasing use of air supply lines to deliver arms to allies in Syria and Lebanon, including Iran-backed Hezbollah.

The attacks are part of an escalation of a low-intensity conflict aimed at slowing Iran’s growing entrenchment in Syria, Israeli military experts say.

Iran’s proxy militias, led by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, now control vast areas of eastern, southern and northwestern Syria and several suburbs around the capital.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government has never publicly admitted that Iranian forces are operating on its behalf in Syria’s civil war, saying Tehran only has military advisers on the ground.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Edited by Daniel Wallis and Jonathan Oatis

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