Israel

Israel struck near Latakia overnight, Syria TV reports

Israel fired missiles toward northwest Syria early Wednesday, killing one person and wounding six, Syrian state media reported. The missiles struck locations in the northwestern towns of Haffeh and Masyaf, state TV said. Syrian air defense units responded to the missile attacks, the report said, without giving further details.

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State media later quoted an unnamed military official as saying a plastic factory and other points were struck in Syria’s coastal region. It added that Syrian air defense units shot down some of the Israeli missiles before they reached their targets.

It said the dead and wounded were civilians, including a woman and her son.

Late last month, Syria attributed an attack near Damascus to Israel, and that same night an anti-aircraft missile launched by Syria toward an Israeli jet exploded near Dimona in southern Israel. Israel’s military said the missile, which set off air raid sirens near the country’s top-secret nuclear reactor, was the result of a misfire and not a deliberate attack. Earlier in April, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said Israel had carried out a missile attack near Damascus that killed at least three pro-Iranian fighters.

Israel has escalated in recent months a so-called "shadow war" against Iranian-linked targets inside Syria, according to Western intelligence sources, who say the strikes mainly target research centers for weapons development and military convoys moving missiles from Lebanon to Syria.

In recent years, Israel has repeatedly launched air strikes at Syria, including at military targets linked to foes Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, both allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Such strikes routinely draw Syrian anti-aircraft fire. Iran's proxy militias led by Lebanon's Hezbollah now hold sway over vast areas in eastern, southern and northwestern Syria, as well as several suburbs around Damascus. They also control Lebanese-Syrian border areas.

With rare exceptions, Israel does not comment on claims that it struck targets in Syria, but it's estimated that it carried out some 1,000 airstrikes in Syria between 2017 and mid-2020.

The recent exchanges between Israel and Syria come against the backdrop of growing tensions between Israel and Iran, which maintains troops and proxies in Syria. Iran has accused Israel of a series of attacks on its nuclear facilities, including sabotage at its Natanz nuclear facility on April 11, and vowed revenge.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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