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Syria says Israel struck near Homs, Tartus in 3rd alleged attack in 2 weeks

Opposition-linked group says targets were Iranian weapons caches; attack comes amid uptick in alleged Israeli strikes

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The Israeli military struck a number of sites in western Syria in a rare early evening attack on Monday, Syrian state media reported.

According to the Syrian military, the strikes hit targets in the area of Homs in Western Syria and around Tartus, along the Mediterranean coast. One of the targets was located at the Shayrat Airport near Homs.

Syrian state media outlet SANA reported that two Syrian soldiers were wounded in the strikes, which also caused “material losses.”

The opposition-linked Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the targets were Iranian-controlled weapons caches.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, in line with its policy of ambiguity regarding its activities in Syria.

This was the third attack attributed to Israel in the past week and a half, and at least the sixth in the past month, marking a clear uptick in the number of strikes allegedly carried out by the Israeli military. According to the Syrian military, Monday’s attack was conducted at 7:16 p.m., an irregular time for an alleged Israeli strike, which are typically conducted in the early hours of the morning.

According to SANA, the missiles were fired from Israeli jets flying off the coast of Lebanon, north of Beirut. The Syrian military said it shot down most of the incoming missiles, a claim it makes after nearly every alleged Israeli strike, which Israeli military officials and civilian defense analysts largely dismiss as empty boasts.

Last Wednesday, the IDF struck targets using surface-to-surface missiles near the Syrian capital of Damascus, according to Syrian media.

The SANA news agency said the missiles hit sites in the Zakia region outside Damascus and caused “material damage” shortly before 1 a.m. on Wednesday. The outlet gave no details on the targets that were hit, and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Three days prior, the Israeli military bombed a number of locations surrounding Damascus in a rare daytime strike, according to Syrian media, reportedly targeting advanced weapons heading to the Hezbollah terror group and other Iranian proxies.

SANA said those strikes were also carried out using surface-to-surface missiles fired from northern Israel, and that explosions were heard in the countryside surrounding the Syrian capital.

The United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition group of unclear funding, said that raid killed at least five pro-Iranian fighters and wounded others. The nationalities of the people killed were not immediately known.

Israeli officials have expressed increasing concern over the proliferation of Iranian-made surface-to-air missile systems in Syria, as well as the Syrian military’s improved air defense capabilities, which have made it more difficult for the IDF to operate over Syria.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside Syria over the course of the country’s civil war, targeting what it says are suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

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