(JTA) – An unnamed Israeli official confirmed that Israel carried out airstrikes in Syria, hitting several Iranian targets. The airstrikes late on Tuesday night, Dec. 25, hit Iranian arms storage facilities and arms depots, used to ship weapons to the terrorist Hezbollah organization in neighboring Lebanon. The Israeli official also said that the airstrikes had destroyed a Syrian anti-aircraft battery used to fire on Israeli planes. Three Syrian soldiers were reported to have been injured in the airstrikes.
As it agreed, Israel informed Russia, which is operating in Syria, ahead of the airstrikes, the official said. Russia criticized Israel over the airstrikes, saying it had endangered two civilian flights landing at the Damascus and Beirut airports. The official blamed Syrian anti-aircraft fire for the danger to the flights. The official also told reporters that Iranian forces are operating in Syria less than 50 miles from the Israeli border, despite assurances from Russia that they are not that close.
Israel’s military has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the airstrikes, as is its standard procedure. Israel has admitted to carrying out dozens of airstrikes in Syria in recent years, to prevent the rise of Iran and to prevent it from sending weapons to Hezbollah.