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Airstrikes in Syria attributed to Israel kill at least 36

Strikes in Aleppo area targeted senior Hezbollah operatives and weapons storage facility

Fighter jets from the IAF's second F-35 squadron, the Lions of the South, fly over southern Israel, January 2020. (IDF spokesperson)

An Israeli airstrike killed several people early Friday morning, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), a regime-affiliated news outlet.

The Syrian military released a statement blaming Israel for the “aggression” and saying the attacks “coincided” with attacks by “terror groups.”   

“Nearly at 1:45 am, the Israeli enemy launched an air attack from the direction of Athriya, southeast of Aleppo, targeting a number of points in Aleppo countryside [which] coincided with an air attack carried out by terrorist organizations from Idlib and the western countryside of Aleppo province in an attempt to target civilians in Aleppo and its surroundings,” the statement read. 

The Syrian Human Rights Observatory (SHRO), a UK-based organization affiliated with opposition groups, said the strikes targeted a weapons warehouse belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah group in the Jabreen area near Aleppo International Airport, and the nearby town of Safira, which houses a large military facility.

The group also said at least 36 Syrian soldiers were killed in the strikes and dozens wounded. 

The Hezbollah terrorist organization confirmed later on Friday that three of its operatives were killed, among them Ahmad Jawad Shahimi, one of its most senior commanders.

Shahimi was the older brother of Khalil Shahimi, the senior commander in Hezbollah's elite Radwan force, who was killed by an Israeli strike in November.

According to SHRO, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) fired several missiles in an attempt to intercept the Israeli strike, however, there were no confirmed interceptions. The group also stated this is the highest number of regime soldiers killed in a single attack by Israel in Syrian territory. 

SHRO also said explosions could be heard up to two hours after the strikes, and video uploaded to social media showed secondary explosions, indicating the presence of stored munitions at the location. 

A report by Reuters claimed that 38 people were killed in the attack, with five of them being members of Hezbollah. 

The Syrian government did not list any casualty numbers or clarify whether those killed died in the Israeli strikes or the attacks by insurgent groups. 

The Israeli government, per its usual policy, declined to comment on the attack. Israel has acknowledged it occasionally conducts to disrupt weapons transfers to Hezbollah or an Iranian incursion into the area close to the border with Israel. It has carried out hundreds of such targeted attacks in recent years but rarely acknowledges them openly. 

Iranian and Hezbollah-affiliated fighters have become a large presence in the area around Aleppo and the capital of Damascus as they support the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad against attacks by resistance groups. 

Hezbollah, which has been helping Assad's regime, has also been engaged in ongoing clashes with Israel across the Lebanon-Israel border since the start of the Hamas invasion on Oct. 7. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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