Netanyahu confirms Israeli strike on Iran target in Syria
Updated 09:40, 17-Jan-2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel had at the weekend carried out an airstrike on Iranian weapons in Syria, a rare public confirmation of such attacks. 
"Just in the last 36 hours the air force attacked Iranian warehouses containing Iranian weapons in the Damascus international airport," Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting, according to his office.
"The accumulation of recent attacks shows that we're more determined than ever to act against Iran in Syria, just as we promised."
Netanyahu added that Israel had attacked Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria hundreds of times.
Israel has pledged to prevent its enemy Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where it is backing President Bashar Assad's government alongside Russia and Hezbollah.
It rarely publicly confirms such strikes, though outgoing military chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot has spoken of them in recent interviews.
Eisenkot told the New York Times that "we struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit."
Netanyahu is also facing April 9 elections in Israel and has been seeking to burnish his security credentials.
The strike Netanyahu was referring to occurred Friday night.
Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source saying Friday night that Syrian air defenses had shot down Israeli missiles, but a warehouse had been hit.
Most of the missiles fired by "Israeli military planes" were intercepted at around 11 p.m., the source said.
"Only a Transport Ministry warehouse at Damascus international airport was hit," SANA cited the military source as saying.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "two areas hosting military positions of Iranian forces and the Hezbollah have been targeted." They were near the airport and around the Kisweh area south of Damascus, the Britain-based Observatory said.
(Cover: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 13, 2018. /AFP Photo)
Source(s): AFP