Second strike in 24 hours after rockets target Golan

Syria says Israeli missiles target Iran-linked base near Homs; 5 reported killed

Reports say strike destroys weapons depot on airbase that Israel has targeted several times before; attack comes hours after Netanyahu warns Tehran

Explosions on the T-4 base in northern Syria reportedly caused by an Israeli airstrike on June 2, 2019 (Screencapture/Twitter)
Explosions on the T-4 base in northern Syria reportedly caused by an Israeli airstrike on June 2, 2019 (Screencapture/Twitter)

Syrian state media reported that Israel attacked the T-4 airbase near the northern city of Homs just after midnight Sunday, killing one soldier and wounding two others. A watchdog group said 5 people were killed.

The attack comes after the IDF carried out airstrikes on several military targets in Syria in the predawn hours of Sunday morning, reportedly killing 10 in response to two rockets that were fired from the country at the Golan Heights the night before.

Military officials told SANA that the attack targeted and destroyed a weapons storage facility and several other buildings at the base.  Israel has attacked the T-4, or Tiyas, air base on multiple occasions. They said one Syrian soldier was killed and two wounded.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported five killed, including one Syrian soldier. It said the attack also destroyed a rocket warehouse.

In addition to the Syrian army, Iranian fighters and Hezbollah forces are also stationed at the airbase, according to the monitor.

SANA also claimed that Syrian air defenses destroyed two of the incoming missiles.

There was no immediate comment from the IDF.

Israeli defense officials have previously claimed the base is being used by Iranian forces as part of the Islamic Republic’s efforts to entrench militarily in Syria, something Israel has vowed to prevent.

An IDF airstrike hits Syrian military targets, June 1, 2019. (IDF spokesperson’s unit)

Beginning at 4:10 a.m. Sunday, IDF helicopters and planes attacked several targets connected to the Syrian army, including two artillery batteries, several observation and intelligence outposts, and an SA-2 type air defense unit, the army said in its statement. Syrian media reported that Israel also struck several targets connected to Iran and its proxy militias in Syria, in the area of al-Kiswah, south of Damascus.

The strikes reportedly targeted weapons caches and a military training facility. Seven “foreign fighters” were among the 10 killed by the strikes, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor group.

The Israeli army refrained from specifying who it believes fired the two rockets at the Golan Heights — one of which landed inside Israeli territory, the other in Syria — but said it “sees the Syrian regime as responsible for all attacks against Israel from Syrian territory.”

Illustrative: A photo released by Iranian media reportedly shows the T-4 air base in central Syria after a missile barrage attributed to Israel on April 9, 2018. (Iranian media)

Saturday night’s rockets appeared to be a relatively long-range variety, reportedly fired from the Damascus area, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) away, similar to an attack earlier this year aimed at Mount Hermon.

Speaking Sunday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran that Israel’s airstrikes on Syria earlier in the day showed that, when assaulted, the Jewish state hits back hard.

Speaking at a ceremony for Jerusalem Day, when Israel marks the unification of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, Netanyahu said that in the decades since that conflict many moderate Arab states have “sobered up” regarding their attitudes toward Israel, which they now see as an ally against Iran.

“While we do not make light of Iran’s threats, neither are we deterred by them because anyone who tries to hurt us will be hurt far worse,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, the location of a key battle during the war. “We have proven this many times in the history of our state. We proved it just last night.”

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