Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Israel Conducts Airstrikes In Both Syria And Gaza

5 said killed in airstrikes on pro-Iranian militias in eastern Syria

At least five pro-Iranian militants were killed in strikes by unidentified aircraft in eastern Syria on Wednesday night, a Syria war monitor reported.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the airstrikes were conducted over the course of several hours on Wednesday night in the Boukamal region of Syria, near the Iraqi border, an area that has seen a number of attacks on Iran-backed groups attributed to Israel.
The Wednesday airstrikes reportedly targeted a Hezbollah command center, as well as several pro-Iranian militia sites in eastern Syria.
The Observatory said at least five militiamen were believed to have been killed in the strikes.
As a rule, Israel does not comment on specific airstrikes in Syria, save for those that are in retaliation to attacks on Israel from Syrian territory.
Earlier on Wednesday, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said Israel was working to thwart Iran’s efforts to establish a permanent military presence in Syria and Iraq, and was prepared to risk a war in order to do so.
Wednesday’s attack came days after a series of missile strikes targeted Iran-linked sites around the Syrian capital, killing at least three foreign pro-regime fighters, believed to be Iranians.
According to the monitor, there were three explosions in the Damascus suburbs on Sunday night after the missiles targeted “Syrian regime and Iranian positions.” Lebanon’s Al Akhbar newspaper reported that the strikes, which were attributed to Israel, had targeted arms warehouses in the suburb of Sayyidah Zaynab south of Damascus.
Israel has repeatedly said that it will not accept Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and that it will retaliate for any attack on the Jewish state from Syria. Though it does not generally comment on specific attacks, Israel has admitted to carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets over the last several years. Iran has forces based in Syria, Israel’s northern neighbor, and supports the Hezbollah terror group and Gaza terrorists.

Israeli military aircraft carried out strikes in Gaza early Thursday, hours after rocket fire toward the southern city of Ashkelon forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt a campaign event and take cover.
The Israeli military said warplanes and helicopter gunships struck several targets belonging to the Hamas terror group, “including the group’s military complexes.” It said the strikes were in response to Wednesday’s rocket fire.
The Hamas-linked Shehab news outlet earlier reported strikes around 1 a.m. near a port west of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
The outlet also reported an attack on a “resistance site” in northern Gaza.
There were no immediate reports of casualties from Gazan authorities as the sites were empty.
On Wednesday night, Palestinian terrorists broke a period of relative calm surrounding Gaza, firing a single rocket toward Ashkelon.
The projectile was shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the IDF said.
Netanyahu was in the middle of a campaign event in Ashkelon at the time and was forced to evacuate to a bomb shelter along with the dozens of supporters in the room.

This was the second time since September that Netanyahu had to be evacuated as a result of rocket fire from Gaza during a campaign event in the south.

No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack. Such sporadic launches of rockets and ensuing Israeli airstrikes have happened frequently despite an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire that ended two days of fighting in November.

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