Israel carried out airstrikes on the outskirts of Syrian capital Damascus, killing two people around midnight on Sunday, February 23.
According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), Israel violated Syrian airspace from the occupied Golan heights to carry out the airstrikes on Adeliyah near Damascus. SANA claimed that most of the missiles were intercepted by the Syrian army’s air defense.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that the people killed in the Israeli attack were its members. The militant resistance group claimed that it had fired rockets into Israel in retaliation for the killing of a Palestinian in Gaza in the early hours of February 23, Sunday. Pictures of the body of Mohammad Ali al-Naim being later dragged by a bulldozer had triggered widespread outrage in Gaza. When a group of Palestinians tried to recover his body, the Israeli forces opened fire, injuring two more people. The Legal Centre for Minority Rights in Israel has called the inhumane act of dragging the deceased’s body a war crime, and has demanded a criminal investigation into the case.
Islamic Jihad, which is based out of Syria, has been termed a “terrorist organisation” by the Israelis who view it as an ally of Iran. Israel claimed that its airstrikes on Syria were in response to the rockets fired by Islamic Jihad from inside the besieged Gaza strip.
Violating all norms of international law, Israel has been carrying out such air strikes regularly since the war in Syria began in 2011. Reports suggest that Israel’s attempt to weaken the government’s anti-rebel offensive is one of the reasons for these attacks. However, Israel has tried to justify them by claiming that it targets Iranian-supported groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.
Israel has also imposed a severe blockade of Gaza since 2006, preventing the movement of people and essential goods. Many Palestinians who try to cross the border for certain essential services are often killed or arrested by the Israeli defense forces.