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Apparently damaged by an Israeli strike: high-rise building in Damascus

Photo: Firas Makdesi / REUTERS

There have reportedly been several explosions in the Syrian capital Damascus. According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attacks were believed to be Israeli. At least two people were killed. The Syrian state news agency Sana also reported an Israeli attack. However, the Israeli military did not want to comment on the reports when asked by the dpa news agency.

As the Observatory for Human Rights also reported, an apartment in a residential area in the west of the Syrian capital was said to have been the target of the alleged attacks. The background is probably a new operation with targeted strikes against the leadership of militias linked to Iran in Syria, the report continues. The incident has similarities to the killing of Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut in early January. It was the 13th Israeli attack on Syria this year.

The Observatory obtains its information from a network of various sources in Syria. The organization's information is often difficult to verify independently.

Eyewitnesses told a reporter from the dpa news agency on site that explosions could be heard. Several apartments in a building near a school burned. Flying debris also damaged other buildings and cars. Ambulances arrived on site.

Images from the state news agency Sana showed a multi-story building with fire damage to the facade and several damaged cars.

Hundreds of air strikes since 2011

Since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on its northern neighbor, mostly targeting Syrian army positions and Iranian-backed forces, including fighters from the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia.

The Israeli army has increased the number of its attacks since the war with the Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas began on October 7. As a rule, Israel does not provide information about its military operations in Syria. However, the government has repeatedly made it clear that it will not allow Iran to expand its presence in Syria. Tehran supports Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

In early February, Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said the military had attacked more than 50 pro-Iranian Hezbollah targets in Syria and 3,400 in Lebanon since the start of the war in Gaza.