Middle East

Israel Targets Gaza Strip And Syria

Anti-aircraft defences were called into action after incidents involving sites near Damascus.

Israel has targeted multiple points near the Syrian capital of Damascus, prompting air-defence intervention late last night.

Anti-aircraft fire followed the latest attacks by Israel in the country, this time close the city's international airport. 

A Syrian military statement said its defences confronted Israeli rockets coming from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, intercepting or shooting down most of them.

In a rare acknowledgement of operations in neighbouring Syria, Israel said its warplanes attacked sites belonging to the Palestinian militant Islamic Jihad group south of Damascus.

It said the sites were used for "research and development of armaments" and rocket fuel production, while areas in the Gaza Strip were also targeted.

The military said the attacks "were carried out in response to the attempted attack this morning on the security fence (in Gaza) and the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel".

Residents said multiple explosions shook Damascus and lasted for about 15 minutes as air defences fired back.

It has not yet been confirmed which sites were hit by the Israeli strikes. 

Iran, an ally of Damascus, has sent militiamen as part of efforts to help President Bashar Assad’s government forces in the nine-year civil war.

Israel considers Iran a national security threat and says it will not tolerate Iran’s presence on its borders.