US, Israel bomb pro-Iran groups in Syria

13 reported killed in American and Israeli airstrikes against pro-Iran groups – including Hezbollah – in Syria.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

After dozens of Iran-backed attacks on their military bases in Syria and Iraq in the last few weeks, the U.S. air force hit a facility belonging to one of Tehran proxy group in Syria, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

In the night airstrike, conducted by two F-15 fighter jets, several bombs were dropped on a weapons storage site in the eastern Deir el-Zour region.

“Following a series of attacks against US persons in Iraq and Syria, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) forces conducted an airstrike against a facility in Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups,” a CENTCOM statement said. “We will take all necessary measures to defend our people against those who are responsible for the attacks and will respond at a time and place of our choosing.”

According to American officials, the military was certain that no civilians were in the area when the attack was carried out. The Syrian Naher Media site reported that at least ten Iranian soldiers and proxy fighter were killed or wounded in the strike.

It was the second time in two weeks that the U.S. has struck terrorists’ weapons depots in Syria in an effort to diminish Iran-backed forces’ ability to attack American troops.

This is despite the fact that many of the 40 assaults recorded so far, which included repeated drone strikes on American military bases that train anti-ISIS Syrian and Iraqi soldiers, have occurred in Iraq.

American officials have said this was because those sites were tied to the attacks against them.

So far, only a few American military personnel have been lightly injured. One civilian contractor suffered a heart attack and died during a false alarm of a drone strike on an American training base in Iraq.

“This precision self-defense strike is a response to a series of attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by IRGC-Quds Force affiliates,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement urging “against any escalation.”

He made it clear that the U.S. will continue to respond to threats against it.

“The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests,” Austin said.

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According to Hezbollah mouthpiece Al-Mayadeen TV, Iranian proxy militias responded to the airstrike by firing several more rockets at Americans stationed at two eastern Syrian oil and gas fields.

Israeli jets also reportedly hit Iranian proxy sites in Syria overnight Wednesday, concentrating its firepower on Hezbollah, which has launched rockets almost every day at Israel’s northern border towns from Lebanon over the last few weeks in a bid to show support for Hamas in its ongoing war with the Jewish state.

While Hezbollah has also fired on Israeli troops and civilians, killing and wounding more than a dozen in different clashes, Israel has responded mainly so far with drone strikes and artillery aiming at the sources of fire rather than bringing in the air force.

According to the British-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, “Three non-Syrian, pro-Iran fighters were killed in Israeli strikes on farms and other sites belonging to Hezbollah” in the southern part of the country, including Syrian air defense facilities.