Local media report two killed in Israeli air attack on Damascus

Syrian state media says Tuesday’s attack was the fourth of its kind in a week, as Israel targets Iran-backed groups.

People inspect a blast zone in a residential area
Residents of Damascus, Syria, inspect the damage after an Israeli air attack on February 19 [File: Omar Sanadiki/AP Photo]

Syrian state media has reported an Israeli airstrike in the capital of Damascus, the latest in a series of attacks over the last several days.

Two civilians were killed in the attack early on Tuesday morning, state news agency SANA said, citing military sources. It also noted material damage in the area.

Israeli authorities have not commented on the attack. But SANA said Syrian air defences had “intercepted hostile targets” over Damascus, following an “enemy” air strike at about 00:15 local time on Tuesday (21:15 GMT Monday).

Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks inside government-controlled sections of Syria, targeting what it considers Iran-backed fighter groups. Iran has served as a close ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the country’s years of civil war.

Monday’s attack was the fourth of its kind over the last several days, with previous attacks hitting Damascus and the central province of Homs.

Israeli air attacks in Homs early on Sunday morning injured five soldiers, according to the Syrian Defence Ministry. The attacks came on the heels of a strike near Damascus last Friday that reportedly killed two Iranian military advisors.

On social media, videos purported to show explosions and air defence activity lighting up the sky over Damascus in the early hours of Tuesday.

The group Airwars, which monitors civilian casualties from air strikes in numerous conflicts, estimates that Israeli strikes in Syria since 2013 have killed between 17 and 45 civilians.

“Israel’s recent intervention in Syria began in January 2013, when its aircraft struck a convoy allegedly carrying weapons from Syria to Hezbollah militants,” the group says on its website.

“Since that date Israel has carried out hundreds of declared and undeclared strikes against Iranian-linked militant groups.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies