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Syria: Over 40 killed in alleged Israeli strikes targeting Hezbollah warehouse

The attack reportedly hit at least one weapons warehouse belonging to Hezbollah near Aleppo International Airport.
Syrian air defense batteries responding to what the Syrian state media said were Israeli missiles targeting Damascus, Jan. 21, 2019.

Over 40 people were killed and dozens injured in airstrikes overnight near Aleppo, in northwestern Syria. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the alleged Israeli attack hit at least one weapons warehouse belonging to Hezbollah near the Aleppo International Airport in the early hours of Friday morning. The UK-based monitor further said strikes also targeted Syrian air defense installations in nearby Al-Saferah and that explosions were heard in the Kafr Joum area, in western Aleppo. 

Footage from the moment of the attack shows huge explosions and mushrooms of dust rising from the area. 

Two unnamed security sources confirmed the warehouse attack to Reuters, noting that five of the dead were Hezbollah operatives. SOHR later said that the death toll among the operatives had risen to six and that the strikes were the largest and "most violent" in recent years by Israel against pro-Bashar al-Assad and Iran-affiliated forces in Syria, with a total death toll of 42, including 36 regime soldiers. 

The Syrian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that Israel had attacked several locations in the countryside of Aleppo, with some of the strikes carried out by a drone launched by local "terrorist" organizations. The ministry claimed that civilians were killed in the attack but did not state the number of casualties.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the attack. 

On Wednesday, Israeli security sources confirmed to Haaretz that the Israeli Air Force had struck targets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Deir ez-Zor, in eastern Syria overnight, after receiving intelligence on a planned smuggling operation of advanced arms. The sources said that senior Iranian militants were killed. SOHR reported that a Quds Force officer, Barhouz Wahhdi, was among the casualties.

SOHR reported on Thursday that a senior Syrian officer close to Hezbollah had been killed in his car by an explosion in Rif Dimashq province. The monitor identified the officer as a mines and explosives engineer responsible for coordinating with Hezbollah and militias near the border between Syria and Lebanon and the border with Israel.

Alleged Israeli strikes inside Syria targeting Iranian-backed groups, including Hezbollah, have increased since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza in October. SOHR has documented 28 attacks attributed to Israel in Syria since the start of the year, killing 104 fighters and injuring 47.