Syria Says Israeli Strike Targeted Residential Buildings, Killing a Family of Four

State media quotes military source reporting 'a barrage of missiles'

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Missiles flying into the sky near the international airport in Damascus, Syria, Jan. 21, 2019.
Missiles flying into the sky near the international airport in Damascus, Syria, Jan. 21, 2019. Credit: SANA via AP

Syrian air defenses confronted early on Friday "an Israeli aggression" in the governorate of Hama, state media said, after reporting that explosions were heard there.

The country's official news agency quoted a military source as saying that the attack killed a family, including two children, wounded four others, and destroyed three residential buildings in Hama. 

"At about four o'clock in the morning today, the Israeli enemy launched an aerial aggression with a barrage of missiles coming from the direction of the Lebanese city of Tripoli, aiming at some targets in the vicinity of Hama governorate. Our air defenses confronted the enemy's missiles and downed most of them," state media reported citing a military source.

The Israeli military declined to comment.

In previous statements, Israel has described its Syria strikes as necessary to protect its northern front from Iran.

This comes after extensive Israeli airstrikes in Syria last week targeted warehouses storing spare parts for missiles, including medium-range warheads, according to a report in Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida. The warehouses also housed parts for drones that had yet to be assembled and fuel for missiles, according to the reports. 

Defense sources told Haaretz that those strikes were related to Iranian entrenchment on the Syria-Iraq border and rising tensions in the region ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden taking office

Friday's strikes, if confirmed, would be the first after President Biden took office as Israel waits to gauge whether its biggest ally will review its strong support under Donald Trump.

Iran has moved forces to areas under total Iranian control near the Syria-Iraq border, where it set up infrastructure for moving forces and smuggling operations between Iraq and Lebanon. Iran has established militias with fighters from various countries in that area, including Hezbollah forces. 

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