Israeli strike in Syria kills 8 soldiers, war monitoring group says

( YNet )

An alleged Israeli strike in Syria late Tuesday killed at least eight people, all of whom appear to be soldiers, a war monitoring group said.

Syrian state media earlier reported an Israeli aerial attack near the Syrian capital of Damascus and in the central province of Homs, prompting a response from national air defenses.

The target of the reported Israeli attacks were not immediately clear. The attacks are the first reported since the re-election of Syrian President Bashar Assad for a fourth seven-year term and the first strike in a month.

In a statement, the UK based Syrian Observatory for Human rights said Israeli strikes targeted the area of the Damascus airport as well as in the area of the Homs province, in Hama and in Latakia.

The war monitoring group said among the dead are five Israeli soldiers and three foreign fighters. "The strikes have led to human losses in Homs, where rescue teams have been dispatched to the targeted sites," the observatory said.

The observatory claimed that loud explosions which were heard in Hama and Latakia governorates were due to air-defense systems that launched several surface-to-air missiles, attempting to intercept the Israeli rockets.

"It is worth noting that Syrian government forces and Iranian-backed militias were seen on high alert in the perimeter of Damascus international airport for unknown reasons since early June," the observatory added.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel views Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier as a red line, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah.

The reported attacks are also the first after a fragile truce between Israel and Hamas’ militant rulers in the Gaza Strip following an 11-day conflict that killed more than 250 people, most of them Palestinian.

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