xi's moments
Home | Middle East

Israeli airstrikes kill six in Syria after Palestinian rocket barrage

China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-02-25 09:55

DAMASCUS-Israeli aircraft struck the Islamic Jihad militant group in both the Gaza Strip and Syria on Sunday, killing at least six fighters, a war monitor said on Monday, after the jihadists fired a barrage of rockets at Israel.

In the latest tit-for-tat violence ahead of a fresh general election in the Jewish state, the Israeli Air Force said in a statement that its warplanes targeted "Islamic Jihad terror sites" throughout Gaza and near the Syrian capital Damascus.

It said the sites attacked were used for "research and development of armaments" that are manufactured in Syria and the Gaza Strip. It said the sites also produce dozens of kilograms of rocket fuel each month.

The Israeli announcement came shortly after Syrian state media said its air defenses had intercepted "hostile targets" above Damascus.

A Syrian military statement reported an Israeli attack near Damascus International Airport and said its air defenses confronted Israeli missiles coming from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Syrian military source said most of the Israeli missiles were destroyed before reaching their targets and that the aftermath of the strike was being examined.

The Islamic Jihad group confirmed in a statement on Monday that two of its fighters were killed. It did not disclose their nationalities or elaborate on their roles, but vowed to respond to the deaths of its members.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights later said that four additional fighters died in the strike.

Islamic Jihad, which along with allied group Hamas, has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, operates in both Gaza, which lies to the west of Israel, and Syria, which is to the north of the Jewish state.

Tit-for-tat attacks

The Israeli strike came after more than 20 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza early on Sunday. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rockets, calling them a response to the killing of one of its fighters along the Gaza border.

Israel and the group engaged in a heavy round of fighting in November after the Israeli military killed a top Islamic Jihad commander.

Since then, Israel and Gaza's more powerful Hamas group have been working through Egyptian mediators to cement an informal ceasefire. But Islamic Jihad has continued to try to carry out attacks.

The group said a man killed along the border was a militant. Israel said the man was planting explosives along the border fence.

Palestinians were furious over the image of the man's lifeless body dangling off the front of an Israeli bulldozer that crossed into Gaza to retrieve it.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, accused the Israeli military of abusing the dead body. The Israeli military said it was removing the body in a way that prevented further danger to those around.

The exchanges of fire came amid a relative lull along the security fence separating Israel from Gaza. Last week, Israel announced it would provide hundreds of additional work permits for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in a new step aimed at solidifying the informal cease-fire with Hamas.

Tens of thousands of Gazans used to work in Israel. But Israel virtually sealed the border when it joined Egypt in imposing a crippling blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power in the strip from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

Agencies via Xinhua

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349