Syrian State Media Reports Israeli Airstrike; Watchdog Says Nine Killed

'Hostile targets' were intercepted over the northwestern Hama Province, according to state news agency, but watchdog reports heavy damage to warehouses used by Syrian defense industries

Jack Khoury
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File photo: Missiles flying into the sky in Damascus, Syria, Jan. 21, 2019.
File photo: Missiles flying into the sky in Damascus, Syria, Jan. 21, 2019.Credit: SANA via AP
Jack Khoury

Syrian state media reported on Thursday an Israeli airstrike over the northwestern Hama Province, in which, according to a Britain-based war monitor, nine people were killed, four of them Syrian.

The Observatory was unable to determine the affiliation of those said to be killed, but added they may be part of the regime forces or Iranian-backed militias.

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In addition, the strikes targeted warehouses that belong to the Syrian defense industries, causing heavy damage, according to the war monitor. 

Earlier, state media said that Syrian air defenses intercepted "hostile targets" over Hama, referring to the incident as an Israeli strike. It reported no casualties.

Video released by SANA purportedly shows Syrian air defenses operating on June 4, 2020.Credit: SANA

“Our air defenses have responded to [an attack by] the Israeli enemy over Misyaf,” said the SANA news agency.

A news flash on state television said the missiles hit the outskirts of the city of Misyaf.

The airstrike is the latest in a series of attacks in Syria in the past few weeks attributed to Israel, despite the coronavirus pandemic gripping the region, and comes amid rising tensions between Israel and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group in Syria, as well as along the Lebanon-Israel border.

Syria has accused Israel of carrying out at least seven airstrikes in the past two months alone, believed to have targeted Iranian and proxy interests.

On Wednesday, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Israel violated Lebanon's sovereignty by land, sea and air over 1,000 times in the last five months.

Last month, Syrian state media said air defenses had thwarted an Israeli missile attack on a research center and a military base in the northern province of Aleppo.

A regional intelligence source said at the time that Israel was stepping up raids in Syria at a time when world attention and the region, including Syria, were distracted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Western intelligence sources say Iranian-backed militias have long been entrenched in Aleppo province where they have bases and a command center, part of a growing presence across government-controlled Syria.

Israel has acknowledged in recent years it has conducted many raids inside Syria since the start of the civil war in that country in 2011, where it sees Iran's presence as a strategic threat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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