After reports that an Israeli aircraft launched a missile attack on an arms depot near Damascus, Israeli media reported more information showing possible links to Iranian activities in Syria.
The Jerusalem Post, using commercial airline tracking information, reported that two Iranian cargo planes left Damascus around 10 PM, right before or during the air attack took place.
A Mahan airlines plane and a Fars Air Qeshm flight took off, crossed into Iraq and flew on toward Tehran.
Mahan Air has been targeted by U.S. sanctions for delivering arms to Syria, which at least partly reach the Lebanese Hezbollah, designated as a terror group by the U.S.
The JP and other Israeli media also quoted a report by Newsweek that the attack might have targeted and wounded high-ranking Hezbollah officials visiting Damascus, but this information has a single source; an unnamed U.S. Department of Defense official.
A Lebanese website has also reported that a Hezbollah delegation was arriving in Damascus at the time of the airstrikes to board one of the Iranian flights to go to the funeral of Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi who passed away in Tehran on December 24.
A Hezbollah delegation heading to Iran for the funeral of a senior regime official is entirely possible, as such trips have been quite common in the past. But whether Tuesday night a Hezbollah delegation was indeed in Damascus at about the time of the air attack, is not confirmed.
Speculations that the Hezbollah delegation might have been targeted while on board of one of the Iranian planes was discounted by former director of Israeli Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, who told the Israeli radio the probability of such an incident is "very low" according to Haaretz.
Indeed an Israeli strike on an Iranian plane on the ground in Damascus would be unprecedented and would be a major escalation.
Yadlin added that Israel does not attack Hezbollah officials but targets weapons and ammunition and said a lot of things are still unknown and need to be pieced together,