Israeli Raids Target Golan Heights, Eastern Syria Amid Border Tensions

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Israeli tanks carried out maneuvers near the border with Lebanon and Syria during the past 24 hours, amid tensions with the pro-Iranian Hezbollah group. Photo Credit: AP

By: VOA Staff

Arab and Syrian government media report a series of Israeli airstrikes over the Golan Heights and near the Syrian border with Iraq. More than a dozen pro-Iranian Iraqi militiamen reportedly were killed at a base near the Syrian border town of Alboukamel. Russian planes also reportedly raided areas around the opposition held enclave of Idlib.

Syrian TV reported that Israeli warplanes carried out a number of airstrikes over the region of Quneitra on the Golan Heights, following what Israel said was an attempted attack Monday by four pro-Syrian militia fighters on the Israeli-held territory.

Israeli tanks carried out maneuvers near the border with Lebanon and Syria during the past 24 hours, amid tensions with the pro-Iranian Hezbollah group. Arab media reports say that Hezbollah is seeking to retaliate for the killing last month of one of its commanders in an Israeli raid near Damascus.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Arab media that about 15 pro-Iranian Iraqi militia fighters were killed in a separate Israeli airstrike on an Iranian base near the eastern Syrian border town of Alboukamel. He says that Israel has carried out nearly 20 raids on Syrian territory in the past four months.

In separate developments, Russian warplanes targeted Syrian opposition forces over the town of Binesh, near the opposition enclave of Idlib, according to the Saudi-owned Asharqalawsat newspaper. Casualties also were reported in fighting between government forces and opposition fighters on the outskirts of Lattaqiya.

Clashes were reported outside of Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria between Arab villagers and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, following the death of an Arab tribal leader. Syrian government TV says a second Arab tribal leader was wounded. Kurdish media says Islamic State fighters killed the tribal leader to provoke violence.

On July 28 it was reported that Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said  that Israel had violated his country’s sovereignty with what he called a “dangerous military escalation” after Israeli and Hezbollah forces traded cross-border fire last Monday.

“I call for caution in the coming days because I fear that things will get worse in light of severe tension at the border,” Diab tweeted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hezbollah was “playing with fire” in comments shortly after Israel’s military said it thwarted an attempt by the militant group to sneak across the border.

“Hezbollah and the state of Lebanon bear full responsibility for this incident and any attack that comes from Lebanese territory against the state of Israel. … Any attack against us will be answered with great force,” Netanyahu said. “(Hezbollah chief Hassan) Nasrallah already made a big mistake in estimating Israel’s determination to protect itself, and the state of Lebanon paid a heavy price for it. I recommend it not repeat that mistake.”

The Israeli army said a small squad of armed men tried to infiltrate Israeli territory from the Shebaa Farms region — an area Israel captured in the 1967 war and that Lebanon claims.

(VOA News)

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