Ten killed in Israeli attack in Syria following rocket fire

A battery of Israel's Iron Dome defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, stands in Mount Hermon in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on January 21, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 02 June 2019
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Ten killed in Israeli attack in Syria following rocket fire

  • Two rockets were fired from Syria at Mount Hermon late Saturday
  • The Israeli attack left three Syrian soldiers and seven foreign fighters dead

BEIRUT: Israel carried out air strikes in Syria on Sunday in response to rare rocket fire from the neighboring country, its military said, with a war monitor reporting 10 killed including Syrian soldiers and foreign fighters.
Israel’s army said two rockets were fired from Syria at Mount Hermon in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights late Saturday and one had been “located within Israeli territory.”
In response, the army attacked “two Syrian artillery batteries, a number of observation and intelligence posts on the Golan Heights, and an SA-2 aerial defense battery,” its statement said.
The Israeli attack left three Syrian soldiers and seven foreign fighters dead, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
According to the Britain-based war monitor, which did not specify the nationality of the foreign fighters, they died in missile strikes close the capital Damascus where Syrian troops, Iranian forces and Hezbollah fighters are stationed.
Syrian anti-aircraft defenses fired against “enemy missiles” from Israel targeting positions in southwest Damascus, the official SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying.
The Israeli army said its own aerial defense systems were activated due to the Syrian anti-aircraft fire, but none of the Syrian fire hit Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the strike.
“We won’t tolerate fire at our territory and will respond forcefully to any aggression against us,” he said.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria, most of them against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah targets.
Israel says it is determined to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs President Bashar Assad in the country’s eight-year war which has killed more than 370,000 people.
The Jewish state insists that it has the right to continue to target positions in Syria held by Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah out of self-defense.
On May 27 Syria said Israel carried out a missile attack in Quneitra, in what the Israeli army said was retaliation for anti-aircraft fire targeting one of its fighter jets.
Syrian air defense batteries also intercepted projectiles from Israel and downed a number of them on May 17, according to SANA.
The Syrian province of Quneitra includes the Golan Heights, most of which is occupied and annexed by Israel.
In January, Israel hit Iranian positions in Syria, saying it was in response to Iranian missile fire from the war-torn country. According to the Observatory, 21 people, mainly Iranians, were killed in those raids.
The latest reported strike comes amid soaring tensions between Iran and the United States.
The stand-off had been simmering since the United States last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear treaty which Iran reached with major world powers.
In recent weeks the United States has accused Iran of alleged threats and deployed an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf.


US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK release joint statement urging ‘diplomatic solutions’ on Iran

Updated 13 min 50 sec ago
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US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK release joint statement urging ‘diplomatic solutions’ on Iran

  • Statement released by the US on Monday as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Saudi Arabian and Emirati leaders

ABU DHABI: The United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have jointly called for “diplomatic solutions” to ease soaring tensions with Iran.
“We call on Iran to halt any further actions which threaten regional stability, and urge diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions,” said the statement released by the US on Monday as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Saudi Arabian and Emirati leaders.
The four countries renewed concern about an attack by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels on a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia and recent sabotage of ships which Washington blamed on Iran.
“These attacks threaten the international waterways that we all rely on for shipping. Ships and their crews must be allowed to pass through international waters safely,” the four countries said of the Gulf incidents.
“We further note with concern the recent escalation in Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia using Iranian made and facilitated missiles and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. In particular, we condemn the Houthi attack on Abha civilian airport on 12 June, which injured 26 civilians.
“We express full support for Saudi Arabia and call for an immediate end to such attacks by the Iranian-backed Houthis.”
The statement was released on the same day that US President Donald Trump imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif being taregted.

With Agencies