Israeli missile attack targets military sites near Damascus, fragile humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas disintegrated

72
File photo

2nd December 2023 – (Damascus) In the early hours of Saturday, an Israeli missile attack struck military sites in the vicinity of the Syrian capital, Damascus, marking another incident in a series of Israeli attacks against Syria, as reported by Syria’s national television.

Residents in Damascus heard multiple explosions after midnight, suggesting a hostile missile attack had taken place.

The state-owned television network later confirmed that the attack was indeed carried out by Israeli missiles in the vicinity of Damascus.

The Syrian army issued a brief statement, stating that at approximately 1.35am local time, the “Israeli enemy” launched an aerial attack from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. The attack targeted several military positions near Damascus. The statement further mentioned that the air defence system successfully intercepted most of the missiles, resulting in limited material damage.

In recent years, Israel has conducted numerous airstrikes against targets in Syria that are believed to have connections with Iran. These targets include convoys transporting weapons to Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia supported by Iran.

Israel views Iran as its primary adversary and is determined to prevent the establishment of a permanent Iranian presence in Syria.

The Israeli-Syrian border runs along the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 Middle East war and subsequently annexed in 1981. The Golan Heights region has been a contentious area between the two countries.

The fragile humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas disintegrated on Friday, with both sides accusing each other of violating the ceasefire agreement. The collapse of the ceasefire has led to a resumption of hostilities, causing further casualties and raising concerns for the safety of hostages in Gaza.

Following the expiration of the ceasefire at 07:00 local time on Friday (0500 GMT), the Israeli army launched a massive airstrike campaign, targeting more than 200 sites in Gaza, according to Avichay Adraee, the Israeli army Arabic spokesperson. In response, Hamas militants resumed launching rockets toward Israel, which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reported that the Israeli attacks since Friday morning resulted in 178 deaths and 589 injuries. The escalating violence has led to a total death toll in Gaza surpassing 15,000 since the beginning of the conflict.

Benny Gantz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Wartime Cabinet, stated in a video message that Israel had planned to expand its offensive in Gaza during the past week. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, explained in a press conference that the army targeted areas rigged with explosives, tunnel shafts used by militants, launch posts, and operational command centers.

The breakdown of the ceasefire has also raised concerns for approximately 140 hostages still held captive in Gaza, as efforts mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States continue to secure their release. Israel expressed its hope to complete the stage of releasing all women and children involved in the hostage situation.

Meanwhile, tensions escalated along the Israel-Lebanon border, resulting in three deaths and three injuries. Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite military group, claimed responsibility for attacking Israeli troops at the border in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. In response, the IDF carried out strikes on Hezbollah infrastructure in Lebanon.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has had devastating consequences, with over 1,200 deaths reported in Israel, primarily caused by Hamas’ surprise attack on October 7 that triggered the current wave of violence.