Syrian state media claims at least four civilians were killed when Israeli warplanes fired several missiles in central Syria region of Hama early on Friday, adding that its air defence forces downed most of the missiles.
The state-run SANA news agency quoted an unnamed military official as saying Friday’s attack took place shortly before dawn when Israeli warplanes flew over neighbouring Lebanon.
“At about four o’clock [02:00 GMT] in the morning today, the Israeli enemy launched an aerial aggression with a barrage of missiles coming from the direction of the Lebanese city of Tripoli, aiming at some targets in the vicinity of Hama governorate. Our air defences confronted the enemy’s missiles and downed most of them,” the report quoted a military source as saying.
SANA later added that “the Israeli aggression resulted in the martyrdom of a family, including a father, mother and two children” on the western edges of the province.
Israel has launched hundreds of raids against what it calls Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah have backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war by supplying military supplies and fighters.
Friday’s attack was Israel’s first attack on Syria since US President Joe Biden took office. Israel has justified the attacks inside Syria, claiming Iran and Hezbollah pose a security risk.
On January 13, Israeli warplanes carried out intense air attacks in eastern Syria apparently hitting positions and arms depots of Iran-backed forces, killing at least 57 fighters and wounding dozens – the worst attack in years.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor that tracks Syria’s war, said it recorded 39 Israeli attacks inside Syria in 2020 that hit 135 targets, including military posts, warehouses or vehicles.
The raids also come amid intensifying low-altitude Israeli warplane missions in Lebanese skies that have caused jitters among residents.