Israel strikes in Syria kill dozens, including soldiers and Hezbollah militants

Israel carried out airstrikes in Syria early Friday that killed dozens of Syrian soldiers and several members of Hezbollah as well as civilians, according to a spokesperson for Hezbollah and Syria’s state news agency.

The attack, which occurred near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, marked the most significant escalation of Israel’s military campaign against Iranian-backed forces beyond its borders since the outbreak of the war in Gaza. The Israeli military, which rarely acknowledges its Syria operations, declined to comment on the strikes.

Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group and political party, announced Friday that seven of its members had been killed, without providing details on the circumstances. A spokesperson for the group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity according to the organization’s rules, said four of the group’s members had been killed in the Aleppo strikes. The spokesperson also said dozens of Syrian soldiers were killed.

Earlier in the day, Syrian state news agency SANA reported that an unspecified number of “civilians and soldiers” were killed and wounded in early-morning attacks in Aleppo province.

Reuters, citing security sources, reported that 39 people, including six members of Hezbollah, were killed, which would make it one of the deadliest reported Israeli attacks in Syria.

Israel rarely offers details on specific operations in Syria, but it has confirmed striking Iranian positions in the past, as well as Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Since Israel’s war in Gaza began, Syria and Israel have exchanged shelling. In January, Iran accused Israel of carrying out a deadly strike on the Syrian capital, Damascus, saying five Iranian military advisers and “a number of Syrian forces” were killed.

Since the war in Gaza started in October after a deadly incursion by Hamas militants into Israel, hostilities have soared along the Lebanese border in near-daily exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah that have raised the specter of all-out war.

On Thursday, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, said in a post on X that it was “very concerned over the surge of violence occurring across the Blue Line right now,” referring to a temporary border demarcation. “This escalation has caused a high number of civilian deaths and the destruction of homes and livelihoods.”

Israel on Friday acknowledged strikes in southern Lebanon targeting Hezbollah, saying the deputy head of the group’s rocket and missile unit was killed in one of the strikes. The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV confirmed the death of Ali Abdel-Hassan Naim on social media but did not give any details about his role or how and where he died. Lebanon’s National News Agency reported that a drone strike on a car in the village of Bazouriye killed one person.

The deaths announced by Hezbollah on Friday brought the total number of the group’s members killed since October to 255, according to a Washington Post tally.

“We continue to strike against Hezbollah, determined to push it back and destroy its infrastructure,” Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin, the head of the Israeli army’s Northern Command, said in a statement.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, in comments Friday, seemed to signal a further escalation of Israel’s military operations abroad. “We are transitioning from a defensive stance to actively pursuing Hezbollah,” he said during a visit to the Northern Command, according to Israel’s i24 news channel.

“Wherever Hezbollah is, whether it’s in Beirut, Baalbak, Tyre, Sidon, Nabatieh or beyond, including Damascus, we will take action,” he said, listing cities in Lebanon and Syria.

Kareem Fahim contributed to this report.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top