(AFP) — A huge explosion hit near Damascus International Airport early Thursday setting off large fires, with Syrian regime ally Hezbollah saying it was “probably” the result of an Israeli air strike.
The Lebanese militant group’s Al-Manar television said the raid hit a warehouse and fuel tanks, without specifying whether they were its own or belonged to the Syrian army or another of its allies.
Israel has carried out multiple air strikes in Syria since the civil war erupted in 2011, most of which it has said targeted arms convoys or warehouses of its Lebanese arch-foe Hezbollah.
In line with its usual practice, Israel’s military declined to comment on the blast.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said it was consistent with his government’s policy to prevent arms transfers to Hezbollah, but stopped short of confirming his country was behind it.
Al-Manar said preliminary reports suggested the blast caused only material damage and no casualties.
“Al-Manar’s correspondent reported that an explosion struck at dawn on Thursday in fuel tanks and a warehouse near Damascus International Airport and that it was probably the result of an Israeli strike,” the channel reported.
A resident of the Dawwar al-Baytara neighbourhood in the southeast of the capital, who lives in a tower block that looks towards the airport area, said he had seen an immense fireball.
“Around 4:00 am (0100 GMT), I heard an enormous explosion,” Maytham, 47, told AFP.
“I ran to the balcony and looking towards the south,in the direction of the airport, I saw a huge fireball,” he said.
“There was a power cut and it was pitch black, and the fireball was clearly visible.”
The Israeli intelligence minister said the blast was in line with his government’s policy of preventing advanced weaponry from reaching Hezbollah.