Israeli airstrikes reported against Iranian sites in Syria, killing 7
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Israeli airstrikes reported against Iranian sites in Syria, killing 7

Syrian state media confirms two soldiers killed in one strike, while watchdog says 5 pro-Iranian fighters killed in second strike, with attacks blamed on Israel

Explosions seen in the city of Hama, Syria after suspected Israeli airstrikes on June 24, 2020 (Screencapture/Twitter)
Explosions seen in the city of Hama, Syria after suspected Israeli airstrikes on June 24, 2020 (Screencapture/Twitter)

Suspected Israeli airstrikes late Tuesday in Syria killed at least seven people, including two Syrian soldiers and five pro-Iranian militia members, SANA and Britain-based watchdog said.

Two soldiers were killed and four others wounded in the strikes in the southern province of Sweida, a Syrian military source cited by state media said.

“Several hostile missiles were fired at our military positions in Kababej, west of Deir Ezzor and in the Al-Sukhna region,” a military source quoted by the official SANA news agency said, using Damascus’ common term for Israeli attacks.

“At the same time, one of our military positions was targeted near the town of Salkhad in the southern city of Sweida, resulting in the death of two martyrs and the wounding of four other soldiers,” the source added.

SANA later reported a third set of strikes early Wednesday near Hama, claiming that air defense had intercepted several missiles. Video reportedly from the scene showed explosions on the ground.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said Israeli strikes had targeted “Iranian militia positions in Tel al-Sahen,” killing the Syrian soldiers, while five Iranian-backed fighters were killed and several others critically wounded in a separate strike on a “military center” near Deir Ezzor, in eastern Syria.

The strikes led to “widespread damage” in communications towers and ignited fires in the area. Iranian-backed militias were also present in the area, the observatory said.

Al-Arabiya reported that the strikes were carried out by Israeli planes and that four aircraft had participated in the attack.

The report said that an Iranian weapons shipment had arrived in Al-Suwayda Tuesday morning.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, which generally refuses to make statements about individual strikes. Israeli officials have confirmed the broad outlines of a several-year air campaign to keep Iran from gaining a foothold in Syria.

Iranian bases in Deir Ezzor have been targeted in the past in strikes attributed to Israel, which has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011, targeting government troops, allied Iranian forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah.

It was the fourth incident of alleged Israeli strikes in Syria in the past month.

Twelve people were killed on June 7 in overnight drone airstrikes targeting pro-Iranian militia in the Deir Ezzor region in eastern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Observatory said the sites had been refortified and restocked three days earlier, and munitions and vehicles were destroyed in the strike.

The Observatory did not identify the aircraft responsible in that case, but its head, Rami Abdul Rahman, had told AFP that Israel was likely responsible.

 

Israel has repeatedly warned that Iran and its proxies, notably the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, are developing precision-guided missiles, which Israel sees as one of the major strategic threats facing it.

Earlier in the day, IDF chief Aviv Kochavi visited troops in northern Israel and warned they may soon need to shift attention to the West Bank and Gaza, should violence break out in response to Israeli annexation plans.

Judah Ari Gross and agencies contributed to this report.

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