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Syria says Israel behind multiple attacks in Damascus, at least 3 killed

The strikes occurred in a district close to housing state security agencies.
People check the damage on a building reportedly hit in an Israeli air strike in the Kafr Sousa district of the Syrian capital Damascus on February 21, 2024. At least two people were killed on February 21 in an Israeli attack on Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian state media.

Suspected Israeli airstrikes struck a residential building in the Syrian capital Damascus on Wednesday, in the latest attack in Syria attributed to Israel.

Syria’s state news agency blamed Israel for the attack in the Kafr Sousa district of Damascus. It did not provide more details. The district lies near a heavily fortified complex hosting state security agencies.

According to Sawt al-Assema, a local independent media organization, three Israeli precision-guided missiles struck several apartments in the building.

At least three people have been reported killed so far and several others injured, according to outlets close to the government and a war monitor.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one of the victims was a Syrian civilian. It added that the other two were non-Syrians who were present inside one of the apartments targeted by Israel. They did not share more details about their identities. 

The UK-based monitor, which has a vast network of sources on the ground in Syria, reported that the building lies next to an Iranian school and that leaders from Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps often visit the targeted area.

Several opposition media outlets alleged that the Israeli strikes were aimed at an Iranian figure. The pro-opposition Sham News Network and Sawt al-Assema reported that Iranian groups used several apartments of the building as their own headquarters. However, Iran's semi-official Student News Network said no Iranian military adviser or Iranian civilian have been targeted in the alleged Israeli strikes.

SOHR compared Wednesday’s attack to the suspected Israeli operation that killed Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in the Lebanese capital Beirut last month. In January, missiles struck an apartment used by Hamas officials in Beirut’s Mashrifiyah area, killing Arouri and along with two leaders of Hamas’ militant wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Hamas accused Israeli of firing the missiles. 

Israel celebrated the assassination of Arouri at the time, but did not officially claim responsibility for the operation that killed the Hamas leader.

Israel, which rarely acknowledges such operations, has yet to comment on the strikes in Damascus.

Last February, a suspected Israeli attack in the same district killed at least 15 people, including two civilians. At the time, SOHR said the attack targeted a meeting of Syrian government officers.

Israel has repeatedly carried out strikes against suspected Iranian-linked targets inside Syria since the civil war erupted in 2011. These operations have increased in frequency since the Israel-Hamas war erupted in the Gaza Strip in October in response to a wave of attacks by pro-Iranian groups in the region against Israel.

SOHR has documented 13 attacks attributed to Israel inside Syrian territory since the start of this year. The attacks left 31 fighters dead and 13 others injured, including members of Iranian-backed groups and Hezbollah, according to the group.

Hours after the Kafr Sousa strikes, new blasts were heard in Damascus on Wednesday. A witness told Reuters that the explosion rocked the windows of homes in the Syrian capital. Local media said the latest attack occurred in the town of al-Dimas in the countryside of Damascus.

SOHR also confirmed the attack, saying Israeli warplanes had bombed sites belonging to Iranian groups southwest of Damascus. The monitor said it had information about human casualties and material losses.

It added that Israeli shelling was reported in areas around the town of Beit Jinn in the western countryside of Damascus, near the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

This developing story has been updated since initial publication.