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Missile from Syria Intercepted in Central Israel

By and the Jerusalem Post
Israeli air defense systems were activated in central Israel Tuesday night against a missile launched from Syria. There were no casualties and damage to property, IDF Spokesperson Unit said. At the same time, Syrian state media reported Syrian air defenses intercepted "hostile targets" near Damascus. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Israel had attacked three targets—Iran or Hizbullah's arms depots located southwest of Damascus. The IDF did not specify whether air defenses intercepted the missile. Hizbullah's information channel reported that S-200 missiles were launched against the attack missiles. The Syrian Assad regime has yet to respond to the reports. Loud explosions were heard in the Syrian capital Tuesday night. "Our air defenses have intercepted a number of hostile targets near Damascus," Syrian state TV said and added the attack "originated from above the Lebanese territories." At the same time, Lebanese state-run National News Agency reported Israeli warplanes performed mock raids above southern Lebanon. As in previous reports of attacks in Syria, this attack is also connected to an Iranian plane. On Tuesday morning, the Boeing 747 of Iranian airline Fars Air Qeshm, which is affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, took off from Tehran International Airport (THR) to Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA). At 5:30pm, the plane took off for Damascus International Airport where it landed shortly after 7:45 pm. The aircraft was used to transport military equipment to the Syrian army and Hizbullah. Other locations reported by Syrian media to have been struck during the strike are as follows: pro-Iranian military positions located in the suburbs of Damascus, air defense facilities and headquarters of the 68th Brigade and the 137th Brigade of the Syrian Army in the Damascus area, a military headquarters belonging to the 4th Division of the Syrian Army in the Al-Muna area surrounding Damascus and military Unit 10 in the district of Qatana. According to the Jerusalem Post's sister publication Maariv, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported that a Syrian military official claimed, "Israeli air force planes attacked tonight, most of the missiles were intercepted before hitting targets." Later is was reported that three Syrian soldiers were wounded and that an ammunition depot was damaged in the attack. Several people on the ground filmed the rockets shooting skyward, thought to be S-200 air defense, which is the main system Syria uses. Locals reported debris and missile strikes near Dimas, Qatana, Saboura and near Mazzah all west of Damascus. Some of these areas have been targeted in the past. Residents from central Israel reported seeing a trail of smoke in the sky near Hadera. The trail was also seen in the north. "We were sitting in the living room when the noise shook the entire house. We heard a launch and immediately went outside. It was flying fast. We saw a trail of smoke and a yellow spot in the sky. It's not the first time, it already happened twice since we had moved here a decade ago," said Sa'ar Pardi, a resident of Maor, a moshav in north-central Israel. The Lebanese Ansharah website reported that the Syrians used a new type of missile. According to preliminary assessments, the attack took place on the Lebanese-Syrian border, the news website added. The attack is the first since the missile assault on the southern outskirts of Damascus on November 29. Israel's air defense system - likely the Arrow - was activated late Tuesday night against a Syrian anti-aircraft missile, following an alleged Israeli air strike over the capital of Damascus. Media reports claimed that Israel struck weapon warehouses near the Syrian capital. There were no damages or injuries to Israeli troops, the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement. According to unconfirmed Israeli reports, the launch was carried out from the northern city of Hadera, with pictures published on social media of a large tail of smoke heading into the sky and residents in the Hefer Valley Regional Council also reported hearing the sound of a loud explosion. It is still unclear whether any Syrian missiles were intercepted from the IDF's reported perspective. Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israel will escalate its fight against Iranian-aligned forces in Syria after the withdrawal of US troops from the country. "We will continue to act against Iran's efforts to entrench in Syria aggressively. We do not intend to reduce our efforts. We will intensify them, and I know that we do so with the full support and backing of the United States." Earlier this month, Syria reported that air defense system had been used against enemy targets in Damascus. According to the report, the attack was carried out in the airspace of Damascus airport. Not long after, the reports were removed. The Foreign Ministry attributed the attack to "the direct result of the American policy of contempt for human values and the disrespect shown in the establishment of the coalition that attacked Deir al-Zour." It was the first time the Syrians had admitted an Israeli attack since the Russian plane crash in September. In recent months there have been fewer reports of Israeli attacks in Syria, especially after the downing of the Russian aircraft. Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the growing Iranian presence on its borders, and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hizbullah from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are red-lines for the Jewish State. With the presence of Iranian and Hizbullah forces, Israel's northern front has become the IDF's No. 1 priority. Working to prevent the entrenchment of Iranian forces and the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hizbullah, the Israel Air Force has admitted to carrying out hundreds of air strikes in Syria.

Fatah Claims Christmas is a `Palestinian Symbol,' Jesus was `First Palestinian'

By Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch For years, the Palestinian Authority and Fatah have presented Jesus as a Palestinian, as part of its fabricating an ancient Palestinian history. This year was no exception. On the occasion of Christmas, a top Fatah official spoke of Jesus as "the first Palestinian" and said that "`Christmas is one of the permanent Palestinian symbols." In their historical revision, the PA and Fatah ignore that Jesus was a Jew ("Judean") according to Christian tradition and that the Roman Empire changed the name of the land Judea into "Palestine" only a hundred years after Jesus lived. In spite of the dishonesty, senior PA and Fatah leaders have consistently presented Jesus and his mother Mary as Palestinians and Jesus as "the first Palestinian Martyr," and the first Palestinian refugee, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch. The following is a statement from PLO Executive Committee member and Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad made Monday, Christmas Eve, at Khan Al-Ahmar, a site where Palestinian Bedouins have illegally erected buildings and dwellings. "The lighting of the Christmas tree each year has many meanings in Palestine… Christmas is one of the permanent Palestinian symbols, and the whole world follows Mass in Bethlehem…The children of Khan Al-Ahmar are happy about the lighting of this tree, as it is the symbol of the first Palestinian, Jesus, peace be upon him. We, the members of the Palestinian people, are celebrating Christmas together with everyone in the `land of Palestine.'" The same false claims about Jesus were repeated by Secretary-General of the National Initiative [and PA Parliament member] Mustafa Barghouti. who stated, as reported in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Dec. 20, 2018): "Jesus, who was born on this land, was a Palestinian and defeated his suffering." Among the many examples of this claim is a Facebook post from two years ago by Tawfiq Tirawi, member of Fatah Central Committee, shows a house in a snowy, picturesque setting with the words: A magnificent Christmas… a happy New Year." Underneath the picture is the text: "For Christmas, the birthday of Jesus the first Palestinian and the first Martyr (Shahid), peace be upon him, we will surely stop the path of suffering (i.e., referring to the Via Dolorosa, which Christians believe to be the path Jesus walked on his way to crucifixion) and go up to the free Palestine, happy New Year."

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