Israel deploys 'Iron Dome' after Syria warns of retaliatory strike on Ben Gurion airport
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Israel deploys 'Iron Dome' after Syria warns of retaliatory strike on Ben Gurion airport

In a statement on Thursday, the Israeli military said it had set up an "Iron Dome" battery in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and others were stationed in the southern parts of the Israeli-occupied territories near the blockaded Gaza Strip, where tensions have been running high with Palestinian protesters. A number of reservists from the regime's air force have also been called up to man the missile systems. The announcement came after Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja'afari delivered a strong warning to the Israeli regime, which has recently stepped up its air strikes against Syrian soil. One of the Israeli strikes targeted a civilian international airport near the Syrian capital, Damascus, earlier this week. Speaking at the UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East on Tuesday, Ja'afari blasted the US, France and Britain -- three of the council's five permanent members -- for providing "unlimited support" to their allies in Tel Aviv and thus emboldening them to act freely in Syria. The senior Syrian diplomat warned that his country could use its right to respond in self defense to the recent Israeli air raids against the Damascus International Airport by striking Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport if the 15-nation council failed to shoulder its responsibilities and act against the regime’s aggression. On Wednesday, Russia -- which has been providing military support to Syria in its counter-terrorism operations -- also  urged Israeli to stop its "spontaneous" strikes against Syria under the pretext of attacking Iranian military advisers, who are also in Syria at the request of Damascus on a mission similar to that of Russia. Damascus repeatedly writes to the UN and its Security Council to brief the world body over illegal military actions that Israel, the US and their allies take against Syria. According to RT, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that Israeli jets endangered two civilian aircraft while engaging targets in Syria on Christmas Day. It said the regime's F-16s flew in as civilian jets were landing at Beirut and Damascus airports. In September 2018, a Russian aircraft was mistakenly shot down by Syrian air defense systems, which were responding to a wave of Israeli air raids. Fifteen Russian servicemen lost their lives in the incident, which Moscow blamed on Tel Aviv. Israel's frequent air raids against Syria are considered as an attempt to prop up the Takfiri terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli army’s outgoing chief of staff, said that the regime had carried out “thousands” of aerial assaults in Syria in recent years. In a rare acknowledgement during an interview with The Sunday Times, he also confirmed long-running reports of Israel's collaboration with anti-Damascus militants, admitting that it had provided weapons to them.

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