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Syria says Israeli air strikes target military positions, 200 confirmed in 18 months

By AFP - Sep 05,2018 - Last updated at Sep 05,2018

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli planes targeted military positions in Syria on Tuesday, but Syrian air defences confronted and downed some of the rockets, state news agency SANA said.

Citing a military source, SANA said that Israeli aircraft had targeted "military positions in the provinces of Tartous and Hama... The enemy missiles were dealt with and some of them were shot down."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said several explosions had been heard in the areas around Masyaf and Wadi Al Uyoun near Hama city, areas where there are Iranian military facilities.

Meanwhile, an Israeli military official said on Tuesday the army had carried out some 200 strikes in Syria over the past 18 months against mainly Iranian targets, a rare confirmation of such action.

A total of 202 strikes were carried out in neighbouring Syria, the official said, all of which involved "military targets, most of them belonging to the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards".

Around 800 missiles and bombs were used in the strikes, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm the details first reported in various Israeli media.

Israel has pledged to prevent its main enemy Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran is backing President Bashar Assad in the ongoing civil war.

Israel has previously acknowledged carrying out dozens of strikes in Syria against what it describes as advanced arms deliveries to Hizbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite group.

Hizbollah, based in Lebanon, is another of Israel's enemies which is backing Assad in the Syrian conflict.

The rare confirmation of strikes comes after Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman signalled his country could hit Iranian targets in Iraq if they threatened Israel.

"We will face any Iranian threat, no matter where it comes from," Lieberman said on Monday.

The Israeli military official did not comment directly on those reports on Tuesday, but said the army was aware of missile transfers from Iran to Iraq and then on to Syria.

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