Beirut (Associated Press) – Israeli jets flew very low over parts of Lebanon early Friday, terrifying residents on Christmas Eve, with some reporting seeing missiles in the sky of Beirut.
Minutes later, the official Syrian News Agency reported explosions in the town of Masyaf in central Syria. Other Syrian media outlets said that Syrian air defenses responded to an Israeli attack near the town in Hama Governorate.
The Syrian Ministry of Defense issued a statement saying that Israel “launched an attack by launching a barrage of rockets” from the north of the Lebanese city of Tripoli towards the Masyaf area. She said that the Syrian air defense “responded to the enemy missiles and intercepted most of them.”
There was no immediate word on the target or whether there were any injuries.
Israeli aircraft regularly violate Lebanese airspace and frequently strike inside Syria from Lebanese territory. But the Christmas Eve trips were higher than usual, which raised the concerns of Beirut residents who have suffered from multiple crises in the past year, including the disastrous explosion on August 4 in the city’s port that killed more than 200 people and destroyed parts of the capital. The explosion was caused by the detonation of an improperly stored stock of ammonium nitrate at the facility.
There was no immediate word from Israel of the Friday flights and the alleged attacks on Syria.
In the past few years, Israel has admitted to carrying out dozens of airstrikes in Syria, most of which targeted Iranian arms shipments believed to be destined for Hezbollah. In recent months, Israeli officials have expressed concern that Hezbollah is trying to establish production facilities to manufacture precision-guided missiles.
Masyaf is an important military zone for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which includes a military academy and a scientific research center. Israel has bombed targets there several times in the past.