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Israeli strikes in Syria kill 21, including 12 Iranian soldiers: monitor

Syrian air defences respond to what state media said were Israeli missiles targeting Damascus early on January 21, 2019
STR (AFP)
Russian sources later said that air missile defense systems in Syria had downed more than 38 Israeli missiles

The death toll from the Israeli airstrikes overnight on Monday rose drastically from the original count of 11 to 21, including at least 12 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported Tuesday.

Six of the casualties were confirmed members of the Syrian regime and pro-Syrian armed forces, while the other 15 were deemed to be foreign nationals, meaning three of those killed were nationals from other countries.

The attack was considered the deadliest in terms of human loss since the May attacks in which at least 27 pro-regime fighters were killed, including 11 Iranians, according to the SOHR.

But the monitor did say it was “the most violent and comprehensive targeting of targets within the Syrian territory,” in terms of damage done to military infrastructure and storage sites, which was attributed to the “rotation of 3 squadrons of Israeli planes to bomb sites…”


On Monday, the Israeli military confirmed it had targeted a "weapons storage site at Damascus International Airport, an Iranian intelligence site, and an Iranian training camp.”

Israel confirmed that its attack had been partly repelled by Syrian fire, and that Israeli forces had therefore destroyed a number of Syrian air defense batteries.

AFP   (AFP)

Russian sources later said that air missile defense systems in Syria had downed more than 38 Israeli missiles.

Netanyahu has been increasingly open in accounting for Israeli attacks in Syria, vowing to act “against Iran and against the Syrian forces who are tools of Iranian aggression. Those who threaten to destroy us will bear full responsibility," he said at the inauguration on Monday of Israel’s new airport near the Red Sea.

The latest strike came after Israel intercepted a rocket fired from Syrian territory on Sunday towards the Golan Heights.

Taking the rare step of publicly announcing the attack while it was going on, the IDF later confirmed that it had carried out the attack as retaliation for a surface-to-surface missile that was fired "by an Iranian force from Syria into Israeli territory, intended to damage the northern Golan Heights.

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