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Syria: Israeli warplanes strike targets in Dimas, Damascus

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Planes believed to be Israeli struck inside Syria on Sunday, the Syrian government and an opposition group said, but the two entities differed over whether the targets belonged to the Syrian military.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency characterized the strikes as "a flagrant attack on Syria, targeting two safe areas in (the) Damascus countryside in Dimas and near Damascus International Airport." There were no casualties, SANA reported.

But a London-based opposition group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said "warplanes believed to be Israeli" struck a "military area" in Dimas, a Damascus suburb. The airport target was an import-and-export warehouse, and it was not clear whether the warehouse contained weapons, SOHR said, cnn reports.

"There were at least 10 explosions heard in the area, and it is not known at this moment if there are any injuries as a result of these two raids," the SOHR statement said.

The Syrian army released a statement saying the strikes caused "material damage to some facilities" and reiterating the SANA claim that the targets were civilian.

"This attack proves Israel's direct involvement in supporting terrorists in Syria against which the Armed Forces achieved significant victories in Deir Ezzor, Aleppo, and other areas," the statement said. "The General Command asserted that such acts of aggression will not dissuade it from continuing its war on terrorism in all its forms across the entirety of Syria."

Israel did not immediately respond to the claim but has declined in the past to comment on what it calls "foreign reports."

The government of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is engaged in a long-running civil war which has seen some conflict spill over into neighboring countries.

In March, after a bomb killed four Israeli paratroopers in the Golan Heights, Israeli forces responded with artillery fire aimed at Syrian military targets across the frontier, the IDF said. Israel then followed up with airstrikes.

"We will not tolerate any violation of our sovereignty and attacks against our soldiers and civilians, and we will act unwaveringly and with strength against all those that are acting against us, at every time and every place," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said.

"We see the Assad regime as responsible for what is going on in its territory, and if it continues to cooperate with terror organizations that are trying to attack Israel, we will continue to extract a heavy price from him, in a way which will make him regret his actions."

In October 2013, Israeli warplanes struck a military base near the Syrian port city of Latakia, an Obama administration official told CNN.

The target, according to the official, was missiles and related equipment the Israelis feared might be transferred to the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah. The official declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.

Asked for comment on that strike, an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman told CNN, "We don't refer to foreign reports."

December 8 2014, 11:08

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