On December 26th, Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Israeli Air Force, following alleged Israeli airstrikes on Damascus on the previous evening.
“We are standing steadfast on our red lines in Syria and everywhere else,” Netanyahu told cadets at a graduation ceremony at Hatzerim Air Force Base, noting that the air force’s unmatched potential allows them to reach areas “near and far, very far.”
He also repeated his frequent pledge that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence in Syria, and that the US withdrawal from Syria will have no effect on Israeli activities in the neighboring country.
Netanyahu did not directly comment on the alleged airstrike, but said Israel is continually acting against Iran “including these days.”
He also said the Israeli air force’s capabilities are unmatched, and can reach arenas “near and far, very far.”
Newsweek cited an unnamed Syrian Ministry of Defense source, who claimed that several leaders of Hezbollah have reportedly been hit by an Israeli airstrike on Damascus.
“Our air defenses confronted hostile missiles launched by Israeli warplanes from above the Lebanese territories and downed most of them before reaching their targets,” the alleged military source said.
In messages sent out to the UN secretary-general and the president of the UN Security Council, the ministry says that yesterday’s Israeli airstrike wouldn’t have been launched if it wasn’t for what it called “unlimited” US support for Israel.
An IDF aerial defense system activated in response to an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) December 25, 2018
Earlier on December 26th, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that 6 Israeli F-16 jets launched a “provocative” raid at the moment when two civilian airliners were preparing to land in Damascus and Beirut, creating a “direct threat” to the aircraft.
Lebanon also accused Israel of conducting the airstrikes and said that it would file a complaint to the United Nations Security Council over alleged overflights during the airstrikes on Syria.
The decision was reached during a phone call between Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Transportation Minister Youssef Fenianos, according to the National News Agency.
An unnamed Israeli official confirmed that Israel carried out the airstrikes in Syria, saying that several Iranian targets were hit.
The official says the airstrike hit Iranian storage and logistic targets being used to transfer weapons to the Hezbollah militant group. The official said Israel also took out a Syrian anti-aircraft battery near Damascus that fired at the Israeli warplanes.
Officially, Israel has not confirmed that any air raids took place, claiming that the country’s actions were a defensive maneuver.