Israel hits Iranian missile storage site in Syria; dozens of Iranians killed

Israel is suspected of hitting a warehouse in rural Hama and Aleppo provinces in Syria, setting off massive explosions that killed dozens, according to the Syrian army and other sources on the ground.


"Syria is being exposed to a new aggression with some military bases in rural Hama and Aleppo hit with enemy rockets," an army source was quoted as saying without elaborating.

Israel has previously hit Iranian-backed militia outposts in Syria, mainly targeting arms convoys of the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah.  Israel regards the group, which is fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad, as the biggest threat on its borders.

"We don't comment on foreign reports and we have no information at this time," Israel's military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.

A war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Sunday's attack had targeted a warehouse for rockets and killed 26 people, mostly Iranians and Iraqis.

An opposition source said one of the locations hit was an army base known as Brigade 47 near Hama city, widely known as a recruitment centre for Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias who fight alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

An intelligence source who closely follows Syria said it appeared that multiple missile strikes hit several command centres for Iranian-backed militias and there were dozens of injuries and deaths.

The strikes hit weapons warehouses, and further explosions were heard, the source who requested anonymity said.

Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the allegations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this month his country will continue "to move against Iran in Syria."

Wherever the truth lies, the certainty is that there were several massive explosions near Aleppo that killed an unknown number of people, including Iranians. 

If reports are correct and the Israelis hit an Iranian missile storage facility, we all know where those missiles were going to be targeted.  So, apparently, did Israel.  Iran appears to be building up its military capabilities in Syria at an accelerated pace since Israel began attacking Iranian infrastructure in Syria.  That Israel may have taken out a large weapons cache is significant.

This not so secret war between Israel and Iran could erupt into a real shooting war at any time.  But as long as Israel keeps the pressure on Iran in Syria by attacking Hezb'allah and Iranian targets, the Iranians will think twice about engaging in an open conflict with Israel.

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