Israeli airstrike on Syrian base kills 2 soldiers, wounds 3 others

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Beirut — Israeli airstrikes killed two Syrian soldiers and wounded three others when they slammed into an airbase in the province of Homs, a Syrian army statement said.

The statement said Israeli warplanes fired missiles after flying over neighboring Lebanon. It added that some of the missiles were shot down before they hit their targets.

Earlier in the day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in London, said strong explosions were heard when four Israeli missiles hit the Shayrat airbase in Homs province. It said the missile attack targeted the positions of Iran-backed fighters in the area.

The strikes occurred after Israeli warplanes were seen flying over neighboring Lebanon whose airspace Israeli air forces sometimes cross to carry out attacks on Syria.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel has acknowledged, however, that it targets bases of Iran-allied militant groups, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Last Tuesday, an airstrike in eastern Syria along the border with Iraq targeted Iran-backed militiamen, inflicting casualties, Syrian opposition activists said. According to two paramilitary officers in Iraq, some of those killed in the attack were Iranian nationals. The U.S. military said it was not behind the attack, while some Syrian opposition activists blamed Israel.

An Israeli strike on the Damascus International Airport and nearby military posts outside the Syrian capital on Sept. 17 killed five soldiers.

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