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Syria says Israeli airstrike on military position wounds 6

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — An Israeli airstrike on a military position in central Syria early Saturday wounded six soldiers and destroyed several buildings, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported.

SANA quoted an unnamed military official as saying the airstrike near the town of Masyaf, in Hama province, hit a military academy widely known as the Accounting School. It said Israeli warplanes fired missiles toward Syria from Lebanon’s airspace and that Syrian air defenses shot down some of the missiles.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Israeli airstrikes hit three targets, wounding 17 Syrian soldiers. It said there were also deaths, but it was not immediately clear how many were killed and whether they were Iranians or Iran-sponsored fighters. It said the strikes targeted the Accounting School as well as a missile development center in a village near Masyaf and a nearby military base run by Iran-backed fighters.

The Israeli military declined to comment. Israel does not usually comment on reports concerning its airstrikes in neighboring Syria, though it has recently acknowledged striking Iranian targets there. The last such strikes that Israel announced were in late March.

Iran is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has sent military advisers, as well as thousands of fighters from across the region, to help his forces in the eight-year conflict.

Israel considers Iran its biggest threat and has said it will not tolerate an Iranian military presence on its borders.

The most serious wave of airstrikes on Syria this year occurred in January, when the Israeli military hit several Iranian targets, saying it was responding to an Iranian missile attack a day earlier. The Iranian launch followed a rare Israeli daylight air raid near the Damascus International Airport.

___

Mroue reported from Beirut.


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