Netanyahu: Israel conducted airstrikes on Iranian weapons in Syria

By Allen Cone
Netanyahu: Israel conducted airstrikes on Iranian weapons in Syria
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes his cabinet for a weekly meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday. He announced Israeli military destroyed Iranian weapons caches in Syria's Damascus airport during airstrikes over the weekend. Photo by Ariel Schalit/EPA/pool

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed his nation destroyed Iranian weapons caches in Syria's Damascus airport during airstrikes over the weekend.

Israel normally doesn't confirm individual airstrikes in Syria, unless they are raids against Iranian- and Hezbollah-linked targets in the country.


"We worked with impressive success to block Iran's military entrenchment in Syria," Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. "Just in the last 36 hours, the air force attacked Iranian warehouses with Iranian weapons at the international airport in Damascus. The accumulation of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to take action against Iran in Syria, just as we promised."

Netanyahuy said the Israel Defense Forces has attacked hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah targets.

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The Syrian military said on Friday night that "Israeli warplanes coming from the direction of the Galilee fired several missiles toward the vicinity of Damascus."

On Saturday, Syria said it filed complaints with the U.N. Security Council and with U.N. Secretary-General Antonia Guterres over Israel's alleged airstrikes. The Syrian foreign ministry alleges Israel was able "get away with attacks against Syria" only because it is backed by the United States.


The official Syria news agency SANA reported that Syrian air defense batteries opened fire on "hostile Israel missiles" and intercepted "most" of them. Many defense analysts believe to be false or overstated, the Times of Israel reported.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said that "two areas hosting military positions of Iranian forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement have been targeted."

Israel says Iran is seeking to establish a military presence in Syria that could threaten Israeli security by trying to transfer advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.

On Christmas Day, a Syrian anti-aircraft missile flew into Israeli airspace and it was destroyed by Israeli air defenses.

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Also Sunday, the Israeli military announced that it had exposed the sixth and final tunnel under its border with Lebanon during a six-week operation. It said the Iranian-backed organization Hezbollah dug the tunnels.

Outgoing IDF chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot appeared at his final cabinet meeting, ending a four-year term and 40-year army career.

Under Eisenkot's command, Netanyahu said the IDF made "great achievements," but added that there "was much more work to be done, which we will do."

On Tuesday, Eisenkot will be replaced by Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.


"I will have more to say at the official farewell ceremony, but at this stage, I will limit my comments to two words: Thanks, Gadi," Netanyahu said.

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