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May 1, 2020 9:54 am

Syria Says Casualties in Homs Blast, War Monitor Says Israel Behind It

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

A Syrian army soldier stands next to a Syrian flag in Umm al-Mayazen, in the countryside of Deraa, Syria, July 10, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Omar Sanadiki / File.

The Syrian army said on Friday a series of blasts at an ammunition depot east of Homs city led to casualties but was not caused by an attack as earlier announced, but a war monitor said it was the result of an Israeli strike.

The army said in a statement released on state television there were civilian losses without elaborating on details.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Israeli strikes on a military base run by Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, which lies on the Homs-Palmyra road, caused the series of blasts.

The war monitor echoed reports by residents of the area that the sounds of the explosions were heard across Homs city.

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The attack follows overnight strikes by Israeli helicopters from the Golan Heights on Iranian bases in southern Syria, according to the monitor and intelligence sources.

Syria announced after midnight Israel had attacked, but did not elaborate on the targets in Quneitra province. It rarely says Iranian bases are hit.

Israel in recent years has launched hundreds of attacks on Iran-backed militias and their bases in Syria, where they have a large presence across the country.

Israel was stepping up its raids in Syria at a time when world attention and the region, including Syria, was distracted with tackling the coronavirus, a regional intelligence source said.

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