GAZA CITY (AFP): Hamas and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) have both condemned an Israeli air attack carried out Sunday night inside Syrian territory.
“We condemn this Israeli aggression, which only serves to reconfirm that the Zionist entity is the main enemy of the Ummah [i.e., the Muslim people],” Hamas spokesman Abdelatif al-Qanou said Monday.
In a separate statement, the DFLP said Sunday’s raids were meant to “distract Syria from its fight against terrorism and its efforts to restore its full sovereignty”.
The strikes, the group added, were also intended to “cover the crimes of the [Israeli] occupation and save [Israeli PM Benjamin] Netanyahu from the many graft allegations he faces”.
Four Syrian troops were killed Sunday night — and another six injured — when Israeli warplanes struck targets in Damascus, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
The Israeli military says it targeted positions near the Damascus International Airport held by Iran’s elite Quds Force.
Syria’s official SANA news agency has confirmed the strikes, saying they were carried out between 2.11 a.m. and 2.56 a.m. local time [1211GMT and 1256GMT].
According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the air raids caused “substantial damage” to the airport.
Israel also claims that the strikes degraded the Syrian regime’s air-defense capabilities.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that Israel had previously attacked Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria several times.
Israel frequently accuses Tehran of exploiting the conflict in Syria — where Iran supports the ruling Assad regime — to establish a permanent military presence near Israel’s border.