Israeli airstrikes kill eight in southern Syria: Media

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Israeli strikes killed eight soldiers in southern Syria early Wednesday, Syrian state media reported, in what the Israeli army said was a response to earlier rocket fire.

Persistent rocket and artillery exchanges with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions across Israel’s northern borders with Lebanon and Syria have raised fears of a new front in Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

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“Around 1:45 am (2245 GMT Tuesday), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression from the occupied Golan Heights,” Syrian state media said.

They said the strikes also wounded seven soldiers and caused material damage.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 11 soldiers were killed, including four officers.

The Britain-based war monitor said the strikes “destroyed arms depots and a Syrian air defense radar” and also targeted an infantry unit.

The Israeli army said its “fighter jets struck military infrastructure and mortars belonging to the Syrian army in response to the launches towards Israel yesterday (Tuesday)”.

Israeli strikes on Sunday put Syria’s two main airports, in Damascus and Aleppo, out of service, Syrian state media said.

Israel has besieged the Gaza Strip since militants from Hamas stormed into Israel on October 7 and killed more than 1,400 people, Israeli officials say.

They also took more than 220 hostages.

Israel has since launched relentless airstrikes and a near-total land, sea and air blockade of Gaza, where the Hamas-run health ministry says 5,791 people have been killed in the war so far.

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

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes it carries out on Syria, but it has repeatedly said it will not allow its arch-foe Iran, which supports President Bashar al-Assad’s government, to expand its presence.

Israel occupied much of the Golan Heights in the Six-Day war of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the United Nations.

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