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Video: Suspected Israeli Strike Sparks Massive Fire at Port of Latakia

Published Dec 28, 2021 9:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

According to the government of Syria, Israeli missile strikes have hit the port of Latakia twice in the span of a month, including an attack Tuesday that sparked a major fire at the port's container terminal. 

Israel routinely conducts airstrikes against Iranian and Iranian-aligned activity within Syria. Iran provides direct military assistance to the Syrian government and to the Shiite militia group Hezbollah, which fights alongside government forces in Syria's decade-long civil war.

For Israel, arms shipments to archenemy Hezbollah are a clear red line. The Israeli military has quietly targeted Iranian weapons cargoes and Hezbollah's activity in Syria for years, conducting hundreds of airstrikes within Syria's borders.

Israel has not acknowledged responsibility for Tuesday's airstrike. However, in comments during a visit to a military airbase later on Tuesday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that "Israel will not allow Iran to stream game-changing weapons to its proxies and to threaten our citizens." 

According to Syrian state media, the strike hit the terminal at 0320 hours Tuesday. A large secondary explosion could be heard for miles, Syrian officials said, and the resulting fire burned for hours. 

Bystander video released on social media appears to show multiple explosions and a large conflagration at a container storage depot. 

Several open-source intelligence analysts have noted that an Iranian-flagged container ship, the Shiba, called at Latakia on a voyage from Bandar Abbas on December 24. The airstrike on the container depot may have been targeting recently-unloaded boxes of military equipment.