(December 26, 2018 / JNS) An Israeli airstrike in Syria on Tuesday night targeted several senior members of the Hezbollah terror organization as they boarded a plane to Iran, according to a U.S. Defense Department source citing an Israeli military official, Newsweek reported.
Syrian state media said airstrikes carried out from Lebanese airspace starting at 10 p.m. hit a Hezbollah base in Al-Dimas, a weapons depot at a Syrian army 4th division base in Sabura, the Syrian 10th Division command in Qatana, Syrian air defense in Attal, and the 68th Brigade and 137th Battalion in Khan-al-Sheikh.
The U.S Defense official said strategic Iranian munitions were also targeted, including advanced GPS components for weaponry.
Israel reported that it deployed air-defense systems in Hadera against a retaliatory missile fired from Damascus, and that no injuries or damage were reported.
Initial news reports tied the strike to the arrival of a 747 cargo jet belonging to Iran’s Fars Air Qeshm. Israel was said to have targeted Iranian shipments of advanced GPS components meant to help Hezbollah convert its rocket arsenal into precision-guided missiles.
The company had been accused of smuggling Iranian arms to Hezbollah in the past, but it was unclear whether the plane was carrying several Hezbollah officials who had allegedly boarded a plane at the same airport that evening bound for Tehran.
In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against military targets linked to Iran and Hezbollah inside Syria.
Israel has argued that its strikes are carried out in an effort to thwart a steadily entrenching Iranian presence in Syria which poses an existential threat to the Jewish state.
There has been a marked decrease in those strikes since the downing of a Russian military plane in September. Though Israel adamantly denied responsibility for the hit, which killed 14 Russian servicemen, Russia accused Israel of causing the crash.