Israel President claims airstrikes on Hezbollah targets in Syria

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According to the military source, the Syrian air defenses were "immediately" engaged overnight after a number of Israeli fighter jets came "from the direction of the Galilee (and) fired several missiles towards the vicinity of Damascus".

"Only in the last 36 hours did the air force strike targets in Syria and we have proven that we will not stop the settlement of Iran in Syria", Mr Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights explained that Kiswa is "home to positions and storage sites for Iranian and Hezbollah forces allied with Syria's government".

Israel said today it had completed a search for Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon after uncovering at least six of the passages dug secretly under the border by the Iranian-backed guerrillas.

"The accumulation of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to take action against Iran in Syria, just as we promised", he said as quoted by his office.

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Netanyahu has vowed not to let Tehran entrench itself militarily in the war-torn country.

On 12 January Israeli aircraft carried out multiple missile strikes on the suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus. It was the first Israeli jet to be downed since 1982 and Hezbollah championed it as the start of "a new strategic phase".

After keeping a low profile throughout most of his term, Eisenkot gave a series on interviews over the weekend focusing on his shifting the military's attention toward Iran directly, instead of just engaging its lesser proxies, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza. While they have at times traded blows within Syria and the occupied Golan Heights, the Israel-Lebanon border has mostly been quiet.

A month-long war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers. Israel rarely comments on its operations so Mr Netanyahu's admission is rare.

The announcement that the operation is ending comes as military chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot steps down at the end of his term. In 2018 alone, he said Israel's air force dropped 2,000 bombs in Syria.

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