Israeli attack on Damascus kills 8 Iranians

Attack coincides with Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow where he discussed the situation in Syria with Putin

AP; Reuters
15:28 May 9, 2018
Netanyahu Putin

Beirut: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday an Israeli attack on Iranian military facilities south of Damascus had killed at least 15 people, including eight Iranians.

The reports of an Israeli attack in the Kisweh area late on Tuesday followed US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal.

“The number increased to at least 15, including at least eight Iranians, killed by the missile strikes,” the British-based Observatory reported.

On Tuesday, Syrian state media said that its air defences had brought down two Israeli missiles, while a commander in the regional alliance backing Damascus said Israel had hit a Syrian army base without causing casualties.

Israel’s military declined to comment on the reports, which came shortly after it said it had identified “irregular activity” by Iranian forces in Syria and went onto high alert.

Iran is a major supporter of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s military and has deployed Revolutionary Guards forces, along with Shiite militia groups from the region, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, to help him in the war.

Israel regards Iran as its arch enemy, and Hezbollah as the biggest threat on its borders.

It has repeatedly struck Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, partly to stop any weapons transfers between them.

Iran said an April 9 attack in Syria killed seven of its military personnel and it would retaliate.

The attacks coincide with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow on Wednesday, where he and President Vladimir Putin discussed military coordination.

The Israeli and Russian militaries have been in contact throughout much of Russia’s intervention in Syria, where Moscow has waged an air campaign in support of Al Assad’s forces since 2015.

Russia also considers Iran a strategic ally.