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Israel strikes kill 8 Syria troops, hit Aleppo airport — defence ministry

By AFP - Oct 26,2023 - Last updated at Oct 26,2023

DAMASCUS — Israeli strikes killed eight soldiers in southern Syria on Wednesday, later returning to bomb Aleppo airport for the fourth time in a fortnight, the defence ministry in Damascus said.

Israel said the first strike was in response to earlier rocket fire.

Hours later, Israeli forces struck Aleppo airport in the north, the Syrian defence ministry said as regional tensions simmer over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

"Around 1:45 am [22:45 GMT Tuesday], the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression from the occupied Golan Heights," the defence ministry said of the strikes that killed eight soldiers and wounded seven others.

The strikes "destroyed arms depots and a Syrian air defence radar" and also targeted an infantry unit, it said.

On Tuesday evening, the observatory had said "fighters loyal to Hizbollah", which fights alongside government forces in the Syrian conflict, had "launched two rockets towards the occupied Syrian Golan" from Syria's southern province of Daraa.

Israel’s army said its “fighter jets struck military infrastructure and mortars belonging to the Syrian army in response to the launches towards Israel” on Tuesday.


 ‘Iron fist’ 


After the strike, residents in Daraa province told AFP Israeli planes dropped leaflets warning the Syrian army and Palestinian factions not to attack.

“Syrian commanders... bear full responsibility for operations... from Syrian territory,” they read warning that every attack “on the state of Israel will be met with an iron fist”.

On Wednesday afternoon, Israel struck Aleppo airport with Syria’s defence ministry saying the strike came “from the direction of the Mediterranean sea, west of Latakia”.

Transport ministry official Suleiman Khalil said the runway had been targeted by a strike, but without specifying the source.

“The same Aleppo airport runway that was targeted before was struck again,” he said.

“The airport was about to finish repairs and schedule flights, but it was once again put out of service.”

Israeli strikes had already put Syria’s two main airports in Damascus and Aleppo out of service several times in the past two weeks.

During more than a decade of civil war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its northern neighbour, primarily targeting Hizbollah fighters and other Iran-backed forces as well as Syrian army positions.

Israel occupied much of the Golan Heights in the June War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the United Nations.


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