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Smoke rises past a mountain as seen from Damascus countryside, Syria December 25, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
Smoke rises past a mountain as seen from Damascus countryside, Syria December 25, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki.Lebanon’s Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos confirmed on Wednesday that airstrikes launched towards southern Damascus overnight threatened the safety of civilian airliners that were flying over Lebanese airspace at the time of the attack.

Lebanon’s  foreign ministry is set to lodge a complaint against Israel at the UN security council, after airstrikes purportedly launched by Israel towards Syria threatened civilian airliners flying over Lebanese airspace.

Lebanon’s Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos confirmed on Wednesday that airstrikes launched towards southern Damascus overnight threatened the safety of civilian airliners that were flying over Lebanese airspace at the time of the attack.

He said that Lebanon narrowly evaded “a catastrophe,” according to a statement carried by Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency.

Fenianos called Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to “put him in the picture of what happened yesterday” during Israel’s airstrike, NNA said.

“Lebanon miraculously escaped a humanitarian disaster that was about to hit the passengers of two civilian planes in Lebanon’s airspace during the Israeli aggression against south Damascus that took place from Lebanese airspace,” Fenianos told Hariri according to the agency.

“They agreed that Lebanon will file an urgent complaint with the U.N. Security Council against Israel in order to reach a resolution that would protect Lebanon and its civilians,” NNA said.

A foreign ministry statement on Wednesday denounced Israel’s use of Lebanese airspace to launch attacks against “friendly countries,” in reference to Syria. It called on the UN and the international community to denounce the aggression.

Minister Gebran Bassil also issued instructions to Lebanon’s envoy to the UN to lodge a complaint against Israel at the Security Council, the statement said.

Moscow on Wednesday said Israeli airstrikes threatened two airliners that were preparing to land in Damascus and Beirut.

“The provocative actions of the Israeli air force.. directly threatened two airliners,” Russian foreign ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

Mr Konashenkov said Israel launched the raid at the moment when two civilian airliners were preparing to land in Damascus and Beirut, creating a “direct threat” to the aircraft.

He said the Syrian military didn’t fully engage its air defense assets to avoid accidentally hitting the passenger jets. He added that Syrian air traffic controllers redirected the Damascus-bound plane to the Russian air base in Hemeimeem.

Syrian air defences shot down Israeli missiles near the capital Damascus on Tuesday, local state media reported.

The official Syrian news agency SANA said air defences “intercepted hostile missiles launched by the Israeli warplanes” from over Lebanese territories, citing a military source.

It added that the majority of them were downed before reaching their targets near the capital Damascus. Three soldiers were injured and an ammunition depot damaged.

THE NATIONAL

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