An attack attributed to Israel left between five and 15 dead, according to the sources, in places associated with Iran and the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, both supporters of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The explosions took place shortly after midnight local time (another two hours in mainland Portugal), one in a building in the center of Damascus, near Umayyad square, a complex located close to Iranian installations, and left five dead.
Israel does not speak about specific actions in Syria (or Iran), but as a general rule it admits to attacking targets linked to Iranian or Hezbollah forces in Syria, and in recent years it has carried out, according to the daily haaretzhundreds of attacks in areas controlled by Assad, but rarely publicly acknowledges them.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization linked to the opposition to Assad based in London, a total of fifteen people died in two attacks linked to Iranian militias and Hezbollah in the suburbs of Damascus and one in the center of the capital, at an Iranian school.
“Sunday’s attack is the deadliest in the Syrian capital,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Observatory, quoted by pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera.
Syria’s defense ministry said the rockets were launched from the Golan Heights, which Israel conquered from Syria in 1967 and annexed in 1981. The attack “caused damage to several civilian homes and material damage in several neighborhoods in and around Damascus,” according to a Syrian army statement quoted by Reuters, adding that it was not clear whether the attack had targeted a specific person.
In 2008, Hezbollah commander Imad Moughniyeh was killed in an attack in the same area of the center now hit, where residents say several Iranian security agencies are located, underlines Reuters. Israel then denied responsibility for the attack.
If there are Israeli attacks with any regularity in Syria against targets linked to Iran, these happen, however, more frequently in areas of the suburbs of the Syrian capital, and it is rare that they reach civilian areas.
The most recent known attack took place at Damascus airport on 2 January, knocking it out of order and killing two soldiers.
With the dwindling hope that there will be an agreement with Iran to stop the progression of its nuclear program, and with the increasing possibility of that program becoming military, Israel has taken bolder actions – the most recent, a attack on what was believed to be an armaments factory in Isfahan, Iran.