The Israeli military launched a number of missiles at targets in southern Syria late Monday night, killing at least three people, according to Syrian state media with reports.
The official SANA news outlet said that two Syrian soldiers were killed and seven wounded in the attack. A civilian woman was also killed and her husband was wounded in a town just south of Damascus during the attack, the report said.
Syrian opposition media Aleppo Today reported that the woman — identified as Matalla al-Sarhan — and her husband’s home in al-Haijaneh was hit by a Syrian military anti-aircraft missile, not by an Israeli bomb. This was not confirmed by Syrian officials.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, linked to the country’s opposition, put the death toll far higher at 11: one civilian, three government soldiers and seven allied foreign fighters, among them Iran-backed paramilitary fighters. No other news outlets in Syria have reported a similar death toll, and Syrian war analysts have questioned the accuracy of the observatory’s reports.
The war monitor said the attack had targeted sites where the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has bases. It put the total number of wounded at 10.
“Israeli missiles bombed the vicinity of Izraa, the Namer Brigade, the Qarafa Brigade, and Tal Mahajah in the northeastern countryside of Daraa, where the Lebanese Hezbollah forces are present,” the organization said in a statement.
The report did not specifically identify the foreign fighters as members of Hezbollah. A number of Iranian-backed forces also operate in the area.
It appeared to be the first reported Israeli airstrike on targets in Syria since a July 20 attack in which a Hezbollah fighter was killed, prompting the Lebanese terror group to vow revenge for his death and sparking as yet unresolved tensions.
The Israel Defense Forces did not comment on the reported strikes, in accordance with its policy.
The attack triggered the country’s air defenses at 10:40 p.m., according to the
“The Israeli aggression resulted in two martyrs, seven wounded soldiers, and material damage,” SANA said, referring to the soldiers.
SANA reported that the incoming missiles were fired from near Mount Hebron, on Israel’s Golan Heights.
SANA quoted a Syrian military source as saying that the country’s air defenses intercepted a number of incoming missiles. Such claims are made by Syrian media after nearly every Israeli airstrike, but defense analysts generally dismiss them as empty boasts.
Israel has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011. It has targeted government troops, allied Iranian forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah.
It rarely confirms details of its operations in Syria, but says Iran’s presence in support of President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah is a threat and that it will continue its strikes.
Following the July 20 strike in which a Hezbollah fighter was killed, the Israeli military went on high alert along the Lebanese border, bracing for an attack by the group. According to the IDF, the terror group has attempted to exact its revenge against Israeli troops a number of times in the ensuing weeks, including with a failed sniper attack last Tuesday night.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed on Sunday that his group would kill an Israeli soldier in retaliation for the death of its operative in Syria the month before in order to establish “deterrence” against Israel.
AFP contributed to this report.