Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Israeli fighter jets targeted senior members of Hezbollah in airstrikes near Damascus late Tuesday, an action that brought condemnation from Syria and Russia.
Several Hezbollah leaders were hit in the airstrike, a U.S. Department of Defense official with access to Israeli senior military officers said. The airstrike was conducted minutes after the leaders boarded a plane bound for Iran.
The Hezbollah delegation had traveled to Damascus to catch a flight to Tehran to attend the funeral of influential Iranian cleric Grand Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.
Syrian Air defenses intercepted "hostile missiles launched by the Israeli warplanes from over the Lebanese territories and downed the majority of them before reaching their targets," the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
Syrian officials said damage from the strikes was limited to a munitions warehouse, where three soldiers were injured.
Russia said the Israeli bombings violate United Nations resolutions.
"The fact of the strikes and the way they were delivered is a question of our most serious concern," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released by state-run news agency TASS. "There is every indication that Syria's sovereignty was grossly violated along with U.N. Security Council's resolutions, including Resolution 1701."
The Kremlin said the Israeli bombs threatened civilian passenger airliners nearby.
"The airstrikes were again conducted by the Israeli aircraft under cover of civilian planes descending to land at the airports of Damascus and Beirut," the ministry said, adding the Syrian army was limited in what it could do defensively because of the location.