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Israel accused of firing on Syria air base hosting Iranian forces

Syrian state media claimed regime forces shot down several missiles [Twitter]

Date of publication: 31 March, 2020

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Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria during the conflict but rarely claims responsibility for the attacks.

Syrian air defences intercepted several Israeli missiles fired at targets in the centre of the war-torn country late on Tuesday, state media said.

"The air defences shot down a number of missiles before they reached their targets," official news agency SANA reported, without identifying the targets in Homs province.

The target of the strikes was a military airport where Iranian forces are present, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Tehran is a key backer of Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.

Israeli warplans fired eight missiles at the Shayrat air base in Homs province, the UK-based monitor said.

Syrian state TV quouted a military source as saying the rockets were fired by the Israeli air force from Lebanese airspace.

Residents of the Lebanese capital Beirut heard the sound of warplanes in the air shortly before the airstrikes were reported.

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the alleged attack.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria targeting regime troops as well as allied Iranian forces and fighters from Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Last month, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a car in southern Syria, killing one person. Opposition activists said at the time that the man targeted was an anti-Israel operative.

One airstrike in February killed two members of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, which is backed by Iran.

It is extremely rare for Israel to claim responsibility for such strikes directly.

Tel Aviv says Iran's presence in Syria in support of Assad is a threat and that it will continue its strikes.

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