Israel yesterday launched air strikes on Syria, killing three soldiers and hitting Iranian targets in what the Israeli military called a retaliatory attack for explosive devices that it found along its northern border.
An Israel Defense Forces statement said that its fighter jets hit “military targets belonging to the Iranian [Revolutionary Guards’] Quds Force and the Syrian armed forces,” in overnight strikes.
The targets included “storage facilities, headquarters and military compounds,” as well as “Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries,” the army statement said.
Syrian state-run SANA news agency said that the strikes killed three of its soldiers and injured another.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air and missile strikes on Syria since a civil war broke out in 2011, targeting Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces, as well as government troops.
The Jewish state rarely acknowledges individual strikes, but has done so when responding to what it describes as aggression inside Israeli territory.
The Israeli military on Tuesday said that it had discovered improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on its side of a border crossing into Syria.
Israel and Syria, neighbors still technically at war, have a border along the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War.
The IEDs “were placed by a Syrian squad led by Iranian forces,” the Israeli military statement said.
Iran has been a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime throughout the civil war that erupted after the brutal repression of anti-government protests and has killed more than 380,000 people.
The Israeli military said that it “holds the Syrian regime responsible for all the actions perpetrated from its territory and will continue to operate as necessary against the Iranian entrenchment in Syria.”
The air strikes came hours before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was to land in Israel for talks — including on Iran — in what is likely to be his last visit to the staunch ally before US President Donald Trump leaves office.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called Trump his country’s strongest-ever ally in the White House, has heaped praised on the administration for its hardline approach toward Iran.
Trump’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign against the Iran has included sanctions, and the scrapping of a nuclear deal agreed between Tehran and world powers during former US president Barack Obama’s administration.
Israeli experts have said that Netanyahu is concerned that US president-elect Joe Biden would seek to re-engage Iran diplomatically, possibly by restoring the nuclear deal.
A CAUTIONARY TALE: Bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks of the danger that his adopted home Taiwan now faces and the ordeal of his detention in China Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) leaned forward in his chair, answering quickly and sharply to issue a warning to the people of his new home, Taiwan. “Be ready now,” Lam said. “We should be more alert as citizens, we should get ready,” the 64-year-old Hong Konger said. “If they can take Hong Kong back, the next place, I feel, is Taiwan.” Late in Taipei at Causeway Bay Books Mark II, on the 10th floor of a nondescript building, Lam, a wiry, gray-haired bookseller, was sitting at his desk with a bemused gaze behind thin oval glasses. The desk was neat, but crowded with books and a
‘POLICE EVERYWHERE’: A law that would criminalize the publication of images of police officers was passed by the National Assembly and awaits Senate approval Violent clashes erupted in Paris on Saturday as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against new security legislation, with tensions intensified by the police beating and racial abuse of a black man that shocked France. Several fires were started in Paris, sending acrid smoke into the air, as protesters vented their anger against the security law, which would restrict the publication of police officers’ faces. About 46,000 people marched in Paris and 133,000 in total nationwide, the French Ministry of the Interior said. Protest organizers said about 500,000 joined nationwide, including 200,000 in the capital. French President Emmanuel Macron late
Not enough beds and not enough doctors: a skyrocketing COVID-19 caseload is pushing hospitals in the Balkans to the cusp of collapse, in chaotic scenes reminding some medics of the region’s 1990s wars. After nearly a year of keeping outbreaks more or less under control, the nightmare scenario that the Balkans feared from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is now starting to unfold. In hard-hit Bosnia-Herzegovina, one doctor described the distress of having to juggle the care of multiple patients whose lives were hanging by a thread. “The situation reminds me of the war, and I’m afraid it could get even worse
SIGNIFICANT RULING: That male prisoners are denied a choice as to their hair length suggests they are treated less favourably than female prisoners, the judges wrote Prison staff were wrong to cut the hair of a former Hong Kong legislator known for his long locks, the territory’s top court said yesterday, in the second significant ruling against authorities this month. The decision came as powerful establishment voices called for an overhaul of the judiciary — something opponents fear could muzzle the Hong Kong legal system’s vaunted independence as Beijing cracks down on its critics. The ruling by the Hong Kong Final Court of Appeal is the culmination of a long legal battle by former Hong Kong legislator Leung Kwok-hung (梁國雄), 64, who served a brief jail sentence in