Arab media reports Israeli strike on Syrian army near border
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Arab media reports Israeli strike on Syrian army near border

Sky News Arabic, opposition forces report explosions near Qunietra, claim Israeli choppers seen overhead; Syrian military said to deny attack

Israeli Air Force Apache helicopters, file (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Israeli Air Force Apache helicopters, file (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Arab media and Syrian opposition forces reported Saturday night that the Israeli Air Force had carried out strikes near the border town of Quneitra.

The strikes reportedly targeted Syrian army forces in the area. Sky News Arabic reported explosions and said Israeli choppers were sighted in the area.

However, Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen network quoted Syrian army officials who denied an attack had taken place.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, and no official comment from Israel.

On Thursday a Patriot missile intercepted a Syrian drone that entered Israeli airspace. According to the IDF, the missile successfully downed the unmanned aerial vehicle over the Golan Heights.

On Wednesday, Arab media reported that Israel attacked a Syrian Army air base near Damascus.

Israel would not officially comment on whether it had carried out the strike. However, Syrian officials insisted the Jewish state was behind the attack, which reportedly targeted a stash of weapons that were bound for the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group.

In this Tuesday, March 7, 2017 photo, Israel's Transportation and Intelligence minister Yisrael Katz speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in his office in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP/Dan Balilty)
In this Tuesday, March 7, 2017 photo, Israel’s Transportation and Intelligence minister Yisrael Katz speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in his office in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP/Dan Balilty)

Though he didn’t explicitly acknowledge Israel was behind it, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said the attack was consistent with Israel’s policy of preventing arms transfers to Hezbollah.

Israel has carried out multiple airstrikes in Syria since that country’s civil war erupted in 2011, most of which it has said targeted arms convoys or warehouses of Hezbollah, which is a key supporter of the Syrian regime.

Last month, the army said it conducted several strikes near the Syrian desert city of Palmyra, targeting what it said were “advanced weapons” belonging to Hezbollah.

The strikes prompted Syria to launch ground-to-air missiles, one of which was intercepted over Israeli territory in the most serious flare-up between the two neighbors since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.

AFP and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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