Middle East

Syria war: Israeli jets 'strike factory near Homs'

File photo showing an Israeli Air Force F-16 I fighter jet taking off at the Ramat David Air Force Base (28 June 2016) Image copyright AFP
Image caption Israel has acknowledged carrying out dozens of strikes inside Syria in recent years (file image)

Syrian state television says Israeli warplanes carried out an air strike in western Syria overnight.

A report said the Hisya area in the countryside south of the city of Homs was targeted, and that Syrian air defences fired back in response

A military source told pro-government Masdar News that the jets attacked a storage warehouse in an industrial complex while in Lebanese airspace.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the reports.

But Israel's former air force chief revealed in August that it had carried out almost 100 air strikes since 2012 on arms convoys destined for the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, which is fighting alongside the Syrian army in the country's civil war.

A commander in a military alliance fighting in support of the Syrian government told Reuters news agency that the Israeli aircraft hit a copper factory in Hisya, 35km (21 miles) south of Homs.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, reported that the strike targeted a Syrian military or Hezbollah installation that was believed to manufacture rockets.

The Syrian army responded by firing a surface-to-air missile at the aircraft, but Israel's Channel 10 television said they were not hit and returned safely to base.

"I can't, of course, relate to reports about the Israel Defense Forces' attack in Syria, but regardless, Israel's position is clear: smuggling arms to Hezbollah is a red line in our eyes," Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio on Thursday.

Another red line was "Iran's consolidation in Syria", he said.

"I think the other side also understands this clearly and actions that took place in the past for which we did take responsibility, were actions that were according to these lines."

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