Airstrike attributed to Israel said to kill 7 Iran-backed fighters in east Syria

Iraqi security forces prepare to open the crossing between the Iraqi town of Qaim and Syria's Boukamal, in Qaim, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. Iraq and Syria opened Monday a key border crossing between the two neighboring countries, seven years after it was closed during Syria's civil war and the battle against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo / Hadi Mizban)

Opposition war monitor says warplanes hit area near Iraqi-Syrian border town of Boukamal

BEIRUT — Unknown warplanes attacked Iran-backed fighters in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border, killing several of the Iraqi militiamen, Syrian opposition activists said Sunday.

The strikes late Saturday targeted a base near the border town of Boukamal, killing seven fighters, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor.

Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based activist from Syria’s eastern Deir el-Zour province, confirmed that a strike hit Iran-backed Iraqi fighters in the area, but had no exact word on casualties. The strikes came days after reinforcements were brought into the area from Iraq, the Observatory and Abu Laila said.

Abu Laila, who runs Deir Ezzor 24, an activist collective that reports on news in the border area, said Israel was most likely behind the attack, but gave no evidence.

Israel rarely comments on such reports, although it has acknowledged carrying out airstrikes inside Syria on numerous occasions over the course of Syria’s nine-year conflict, saying it was going after Iranian military targets in the country.Satellite images purporting to show the damage to a missile factory outside Aleppo, Syria caused by airstrikes attributed to Israel on May 4, which were released on May 7, 2020. (ImageSat International)

There have recently been several reports of suspected Israeli strikes inside Syria, including one on May 4 that left 14 Iranian-backed fighters dead, according to the Observatory.

In January, an airstrike killed eight fighters from Iraq’s Iran-backed Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Force) militia in the Albu Kamal area of eastern Syria.

An Iraqi security official and a PMF official said at the time warplanes targeted two vehicles carrying missiles on the Syrian side of the border. The strike was most likely carried out by Israeli warplanes, they said, but offered no evidence.

(Times of Israel).

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