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Israel Bombs Military Target Outside Damascus, Syria Says

Israel's air force bombed a military facility in western Syria, the Syrian media said Wednesday, a development that could further complicate the already volatile conditions in the region.

Israel did not confirm or deny the report. But The Associated Press, citing "regional security officials," said Israel believed that Syria was sending weapons to its ally Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency denied reports that a truck convoy was bombed. It said the Israelis hit a scientific research center used by the military northwest of Damascus. Two workers were killed and five were injured in the dawn attack, SANA added.

According to the AP, the Israelis are concerned that Syrian President Bashar Assad may pass on chemical weapons or anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah, the dominant power in Lebanon, which has frequently clashed with Israel.

Israel and Syria have never made peace, but direct military confrontations have been rare since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

The last Israeli airstrike in Syria was in 2007, when Israel bombed what it believed was a secret nuclear reactor. Syria has denied that the building was a nuclear facility.

In that 2007 attack and earlier ones, the Israelis carried out single strikes and did not wage a broader military campaign. Syria, in turn, did not respond directly to Israel but is widely seen as working through Hezbollah.

Israel has been closely monitoring the uprising and civil war in Syria since it began nearly two years ago, but has not been directly involved.

We plan to update this post when more information becomes available.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on the intelligence community, a position that follows his many years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the globe.
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