JERUSALEM

Israel on Thursday said it is increasing the number of troops along its northern borders, pointing to a possible escalation in Syria or Lebanon.

“In accordance with the situational assessment by the army, it was decided to send a certain reinforcement of infantry troops to the military northern command,” the Israeli military said in a statement, without giving any further details.

However, Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post said the decision comes amid “heightened tensions following the announcement by Lebanon’s Hezbollah that one of its members was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Damascus on Monday night.”

The Assad regime had said seven of its soldiers were injured in Israeli airstrikes on the Syrian capital late on Monday night.

According to the official SANA news agency, Syrian air defenses had intercepted missiles fired by Israeli warplanes from the occupied Golan Heights towards southern Damascus.

Israel then closed the airspace over the occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday, with local media reporting the restrictions would last until July 31.

Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against targets in Syria, including Assad regime military sites and Iranian-backed groups.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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