Late on February 23, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out a new series of airstrikes on the Syrian capital, Damascus.
The Syrian News Arab Agency (SANA) claimed that the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) intercepted most of the “hostile targets.” According to the state-run agency, the aerial attack was launched from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
In a rare move, the Israeli military claimed responsibility for the airstrikes. The military said that several positions of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in southern Damascus were targeted.
“In the area of Adliya, in the countryside of Damascus, a location belonging to the Islamic Jihad, an important stronghold of the movement in Syria, has been targeted. In the position, the organization is conducting research and development for combat methods, assessing if they are suitable for production in the Gaza Strip and for local production inside Syria,” Avichay Adraee, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said on Twitter.
The Israeli airstrikes on the Syrian capital coincided with similar strikes on PIJ positions in the Gaza Strip. A few hours earlier, Palestinian fighters believed to be from the PIJ launched a barrage of rockets at Israeli settlements around the Gaza Strip. The rocket attack was a response to the killing of a PIJ fighter by the Israeli military.
This was not the first Israeli attack on PIJ assets in Syria, a key backer of the Palestinian group. Last November, Israel targeted PIJ senior leader Akram al-Ajouri in Damascus. However, he survived the attack.
The new wave of Israeli airstrikes on the Syrian capital may have targeted PIJ officials, not only positions. The coming few hours will likely reveal more information about the targets of the airstrikes.
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