Israeli airstrike on central Syria leaves 2 dead, 7 wounded


DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s military said Israeli warplanes attacked army positions in the country’s central region early Wednesday, leaving two civilians dead and seven people wounded — six of them soldiers.

State media quoted an unnamed military official as saying the warplanes fired missiles while flying over the airspace of neighboring Lebanon. State news agency SANA quoted the official as saying that the strike occurred at 1:26 a.m. (2326 GMT).

The official said that Syria’s air defenses shot down most of the missiles, adding that in addition to the casualties there was also some material damage.

A Syrian opposition war monitor said the strikes hit positions housing Syrian fighters loyal to Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, west of the central city of Homs.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes killed four, including two who lost their lives when they were hit by parts of a Syrian surface-to-air missile that fell in the central city of Homs.

There was no comment from the Israeli military.

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel has acknowledged, however, that it targets the bases of Iran-allied militias, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah group that has fighters deployed in Syria. It says it attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for the militias.

Hezbollah is fighting on the side of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in the decade-old civil war.

Israel says Iranian presence on its northern frontier is a red line, justifying its strikes on facilities and weapons inside Syria.

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