Israel 'launches attack in Syria' after low-flying planes terrify Beirut residents
A fighter plane drops bombs on the southwest Syrian province of Daraa - AFP in 2018
Israel reportedly launched air strikes against military targets in Syria last night after warplanes flew low over Lebanon, terrifying local residents.
The Syrian-Arab state news agency (SANA) quoted a military source accusing Israeli "aggression" of "rocket fire" from north of the Lebanese city of Tripoli at Masyaf in the Syrian province of Hama.
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The source claimed that most of the missiles were intercepted by Syrian air defenses, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, said a warehouse and missile factories with "at least" six victims had been destroyed.
After midnight, explosions were reported in the Masyaf area, northwest of Homs, a significant military area for President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which is home to a military academy and scientific research center believed to be used to manufacture chemical weapons were.
The Israeli military said it would not comment on reports in foreign media, but has reportedly launched dozens of attacks against Iranian militia and other targets in Syria in recent years, with jets regularly crossing Lebanese airspace.
Witnesses said the flights on Christmas Eve were louder than usual, terrifying Beirut residents, who are still traumatized by the August 4th explosion in the city's port, which killed more than 200 people.
The disastrous explosion that destroyed large parts of the city was caused after a huge supply of ammonium nitrate was ignited by a fire.
Tamara Qiblawi, a CNN producer from the Lebanese capital, has shared a video that appears to show "illegal overflights" by four Israeli jets.
"You hear them very often here, but very rarely do you see them," she added. “These were exceptionally low altitudes. Houses trembled. Cats freaked out. Shake off people's spines. "
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights cited "reliable sources" and said that the "Israeli strikes are aimed at military posts of regime troops and Iranian militias".
Syrian activists watched ambulances rush to the site of the explosions and the dead were all foreign paramilitaries loyal to President Assad.
An attack also targeted the research center, which is used to develop and store ground attack missiles, and which has been hit by Israeli strikes several times in recent years, the observatory said. The most recent attack in June killed nine people, including four Syrians.
The U.S. military previously claimed that the center was developing sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent, which Syrian authorities have denied.
According to the SANA report, air defense hit "most" missiles before they reached their target.
"Our air defenses intercepted an Israeli attack on the Masyaf area," it said.
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