Reports: At Least Seven Iran-Backed Fighters Killed in Israeli Strike in Syria

In this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 file photo, black smoke leaps the air from government shelling in a residential area in Aleppo, Syria. The Syrian government’s decision to detain peaceful activists, in a way left the door open for more extremist elements to rise up. When the protests started in …
AP/ Manu Brabo

TEL AVIV –  At least seven Iran-affiliated militia fighters are said to have been killed in an airstrike attributed to Israel on an Iranian base near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Thursday. 

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that the Assad regime’s air defense batteries opened fire on “hostile Israel missiles” and managed to intercept several missiles targeting industrial bases close to the Nayrab military airport, which is adjacent to the city’s international airport. According to those reports, the only damage caused was to materials.

According to SOHR, the alleged Israeli strikes hit the military airport, used by Tehran, and “ammunition stores belonging to Iranian forces and allied groups, and caused huge explosions.”

It is the second time within a year that Israel has targeted the airport and surrounding bases.

Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes against Iranian targets in Syria in recent years, although there has been a significant decrease following an Israeli strike in September that resulted in Syrian forces downing a Russian plane, killing 15 Russian crew members. Russia blamed Israel for the incident.

The blasts also caused a power cut in Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city.

Israel did not comment on Wednesday night’s strikes but Acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz appeared to issue a confirmation when he said on Thursday that “as far as Iran knows, it’s Israel” that conducted them. He also said it was a “challenging” mission to carry out.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran to “get out of Syria unless it wanted to continue being attacked by Israel. “I’m telling you, get out of there fast. We won’t stop attacking,” he said.

Last month, the Israeli premier met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss curbing Iranian military entrenchment in Syria.

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