Israeli launches airstrikes on Syria, fires artillery shots into southern Lebanon

Abiding by its long-term policy, Israel did not acknowledge its airstrikes in Syria. Its forces claimed that they carried out artillery shelling inside Lebanon following firing of two rockets from across the border into northern Israel 

July 20, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Israeli airstrikes in Syria
Israeli airstrikes near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on July 19, 2021. (Photo: Screencapture/Twitter)

Israel launched a number of missiles inside Syria late night on Monday, July 19. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that most of the missiles were intercepted by the Syrian air defense at around 11:30 pm over the Assfayra region in Aleppo province. SANA quoted a Syrian military official who claimed that there were no reported casualties and the damage was limited to some material losses.  

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) also fired artillery shots inside Lebanon early morning Tuesday. Israel claimed that the firing was in response to two rockets fired inside its northern territories from Lebanon. The IDF stated that both the rockets failed to do any damage. One of them was intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system while the other fell in an open area near the coast. 

Israeli media claims that firing from Lebanon came as a response to the attacks on Syria and Sunday’s storming of Al-Aqsa compound in which Israeli forces disrupted Palestinians praying in the compound on the occasion of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. 

Times of Israel reported Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz warning Lebanon of retaliation and blaming Palestinian groups for the attack. Lebanese National News Agency reported on Tuesday that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has urged maximum restraint. The Lebanese army stated that the Israeli artillery fire at Wadi al-Hamul did not cause casualties or material damage. It also announced an investigation into the Israeli claims of rocket fire. 

Southern Lebanon was occupied by Israeli forces during the Lebanese civil war. The Israeli occupation ended in 2000 after massive campaigns launched by the Lebanese resistance led by Hezbollah. Since its war with Hezbollah in 2006, Israel has often blamed it for the rockets fired from southern Lebanon inside northern Israel. However, on Tuesday, Israeli media reported that the possible suspects behind the attack were Palestinian groups operating in the region. 

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside Syria using Lebanese air space since the beginning of the war in 2011, in complete violation of Syrian and Lebanese sovereignty. Israel rarely acknowledges such attacks. Whenever it does, it claims it has targeted Iranian presence in the country. However, Syria often attributes such attacks to Israel’s attempts to support the anti-government forces in the war. 

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