Israel strikes wound three civilians in Syria

DAMASCUS – Three civilians were wounded on Saturday in Israeli air strikes near the Syrian city of Homs, state media reported, with a war monitor saying a Hezbollah munitions depot was hit.

During more than a decade of war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its territory, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

While Israel rarely comments on the strikes it carries out on Syria, it has repeatedly said it will not allow its arch-foe Iran to extend its footprint in the war-torn country.

“At around 12.50am (9.50pm GMT)… the Israeli enemy carried out an air attack with a number of missiles, from the direction of north Lebanon, targeting several positions in the vicinity of the city of Homs,” state news agency Sana reported.

“Three civilians were wounded and a civilian petrol station caught fire and a number of fuel tanks and trucks were burned,” it said, adding that Syrian air defences had intercepted some of the missiles.

When contacted by AFP, the Israeli military did not comment on the incident.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said four Syrian soldiers were wounded in the strike that caused “loud explosions as the munitions in the depot blew up”.

The Israeli strike also destroyed “trucks carrying weapons belonging to Lebanese Hezbollah” at the Dabaa military airport in the countryside of Homs province, the observatory added.

On April 2, Israel carried out similar strikes targeting a Hezbollah depot in the Dabaa airport area, the observatory had said, killing two pro-Iran fighters and wounding five soldiers.

The same day, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant repeated Israel’s often repeated charge that Iranians are “attempting to entrench themselves in Syria and Lebanon”.

“We will not allow the Iranians and Hezbollah to harm us. We have not allowed it in the past, we won’t allow it now, or anytime in the future. When necessary – we will push them out of Syria to where they belong – and that is Iran,” he told troops in the occupied West Bank.

On Monday, Israel’s army shelled a position belonging to a pro-Iran group in southern Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the second such bombardment in days, the observatory said at the time.

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