Conflict & Justice

Israeli war planes allegedly hit Syria again, said to target Iranian weapons bound for Hezbollah (UPDATES)



A Syrian rebel fighter holds a wounded pigeon in the remains of a destroyed house following an airstrike by the Syrian airforce in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on April 15, 2013.



Israeli war planes have allegedly carried out a second airstrike on Syria, less than 48 hours after the IDF destroyed a convoy allegedly carrying weapons to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

More from GlobalPost: Hezbollah convoy in Syria destroyed by Israeli air strike

Media cited an intelligence official as saying that an airstrike early Sunday in the capital, Damascus, targeted a shipment of Iranian-made missiles ready to be sent to Hezbollah.

According to Reuters, the explosions "drove columns of fire into the night sky."

Witnesses in Damascus reported feeling something like an earthquake, says GlobalPost correspondent in Jerusalem Noga Tarnopolsky. 

This strike, if confirmed to have been by Israel, would be the most significant Israeli military engagement with Syria since 1973. Notably, for the first time in the past two years, "there is not just tension but a real sense of concern among people living in Israeli communities that border on Syria," reported Tarnopolsky. 

The Syrian state news agency, Sana, reported explosions at the Jamraya military and scientific research center near Damascus. 

The agency wrote that there were an unspecified number of casualties.

VOA cited an anonymous intelligence source as saying Israel had targeted Fatah —specifically, 110 guided missiles that could be used against Israel, the same motive used in Friday's attack. The New York Times also reported that the strikes were intended for missile shipments. 

Israel has closed off its airspace to civilian flights until May 9, as Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi said after an emergency cabinet meeting that the air strikes "open the door to all possibilities," Ha'aretz reported

Earlier Sunday, Sana reported that Israeli missiles had struck a military research facility just north of Damascus. British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported explosions at the facility in Jamraya, about 10 miles from the Lebanese border.

Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen TV reported several strikes, including one on a military position in a village west of Damascus. Ha'aretz has a map of the reported strike targets. 

Israel's military has deployed two batteries of its Iron Dome rocket defense system to the north of the country, and have reportedly continued to strike Syria, CBS reported

Asked by GlobalPost to comment on the report, Israel's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor quoted philosopher Ludwig Wittgestein: "'Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent.'" 

The AP painted the air strikes as a signaling "a sharp escalation of Israel's involvement in Syria's bloody civil war" as President Barack Obama considers his options should the Syrian regime be found to have used chemical weapons against its people. 

Obama has described the use of such weapons as a "red line," and the administration is weighing its options, including possible military action.

The bombings come as Netanyahu prepares to leave on a five-day trip to China tomorrow. He reportedly pulled together his security cabinet to discuss the situation in Syria Sunday before taking off on a delayed flight. 

[View the story "GlobalPost correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky tweets live from Israel" on Storify]