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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Israel strikes KO Syrian airports, say state media

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Israeli strikes knocked Syria’s two main airports out of service on Thursday, Syrian state media said, in the first such attack since a weekend Hamas assault on Israel triggered fierce fighting.

Israeli strikes have repeatedly caused the grounding of flights at the airports in the capital Damascus and northern city Aleppo, both of which are controlled by the government of war-torn Syria.

The “simultaneous” strikes “damaged landing strips in the two airports, putting them out of service”, state media said, citing an unidentified military source.

The latest strikes came as Hamas and Israel traded heavy fire for a sixth day, after hundreds of Hamas gunmen stormed across the Gaza border into Israel on Saturday and killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians.

They also came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel, and hours after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in a telephone call with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad, called on Arab and Islamic countries to cooperate in confronting Israel.

The military source cited by Syrian state media described the strikes as a “desperate attempt” by Israel to “divert attention” away from the conflict with Hamas in Gaza. AFP

During more than a decade of war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its northern neighbour, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes it carries out on Syria, but it has repeatedly said it would not allow its arch-foe Iran, which supports Assad’s government, to expand its footprint there.

Iran, which backs Hamas, on Saturday celebrated Hamas’ assault on Israel, though it insisted it was not involved in it. AFP

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