U.S. Official: Top Hezbollah Leaders Hit in Alleged Israeli Strike in Syria

A picture taken on August 8, 2018 shows a fireball exploding during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV – Several senior Hezbollah terror leaders were hit by an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria Tuesday night as they boarded a plane bound for Iran, Newsweek reported Wednesday.

According to an unnamed Defense Department source who cited Israeli defense officials, the strike also targeted Iranian ammunition supply points that contained GPS-guided munitions.

Syrian state media said the strikes were conducted from Lebanon and an arms depot being used by Hezbollah was hit along with three soldiers who sustained injuries, Reuters reported.

“Our air defenses confronted hostile missiles launched by Israeli war planes from above the Lebanese territories and downed most of them before reaching their targets,” a Syrian military source said.

According to Israel’s Hadashot news, a strike was also reportedly carried out on Syrian air defenses in Attal, and on the 68th Brigade and 137th Battalion in Khan-al-Sheikh.

The IDF said it deployed air defenses against an anti-aircraft missile fired from Syria.

Footage shared on social media showed an air defense missile being fired near Hadera in northern Israel.

The alleged strike has been connected with reports of an Iranian cargo jet landing in Damascus just after 7 p.m., the Times of Israel reported. According to Ynet, the plane left Tehran Tuesday morning and landed at Imam Khomeini International Airport before taking off again at 5:30 p.m.

The 747 belongs to Iran’s Fars Air Qeshm, a civilian airline company with known ties to the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that has been accused multiple times in the past of smuggling Iranian arms to Hezbollah.

However, the Jerusalem Post cited air monitoring site Flightradar24.com in its report saying that “two suspicious Iranian planes left Damascus on Tuesday night just prior” to the airstrikes. A Fars Air Qeshm 747 cargo plane left Damascus International Airport at 9:28 p.m., the report said. The Boeing 747-281F left Damascus and flew east towards Tehran, climbing to 30,000 feet and then crossing into Iraq after 10 p.m.

According to the Post, a second Tehran-bound flight from Mahan Air took off from Damascus at 10:04 in the evening and flew the same route as the Fars Air Qeshm airliner.

Mahan Air, a private airline, has been accused by the U.S. Treasury Department of having links to the IRGC, making its departure right after the Fars Air Qeshm suspicious, the report said.

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