'Huge' explosion at Damascus airport

Israeli strikes have hit an arms depot operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group near Damascus airport, Syrian opposition sources said.

Within the same context, an Israeli cabinet minister on Thursday hinted that Israeli warplanes had, in fact, struck a target near Damascus International Airport.

Israel's army said Thursday that its Patriot missile defense system intercepted an incoming object from Syria, reportedly a drone, while it was above the Israeli-held Golan Heights.

Rami Abdurrahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the blasts were heard across the capital, jolting residents awake.

Syrian state news agency Sana said several missiles had been fired at a military site south-west of the airport, causing explosions that resulted in some material losses.

But it stopped short of confirming it was responsible.

"The Syrian army and its allies will work to thwart the new Israeli plot on the occupied Golan border and will continue to destroy the enemy's collaborators", an anonymous Syrian military source told the Lebanese news site el-Nashra.

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"The incident in Syria corresponds with Israel's policy to act to prevent Iran's smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah", he said, adding, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said "whenever we receive intelligence that indicates an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act".

Israel's intelligence minister, Yisrael Katz appeared to confirm Israel was behind the attack.

Throughout the Syrian war, which began in March 2011, Israel has made it clear it would not allow shipments of weapons from Iran to Hezbollah units fighting in Syria. Hezbollah and Israel fought each other in the 2006 Lebanon War.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the reports.

The airport has also been cited as a pipeline for Iranian military support of Assad.

In April, Israeli anti-missile defense systems neutralized a Syrian missile that penetrated Israeli airspace.

  • Sonia Alvarado