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Saturday 18th
posted by James Tweedie in World

Syrian forces accuse Israel of aiding Isis

SYRIA’S military accused Israel of aiding Isis yesterday after Tel Aviv’s air force bombed a military site near Palmyra on Thursday night.

The Syrian armed forces’ General Command said it had shot down one of the attacking jets and damaged another over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights while they were on their way back from the raid.

Sirens sounded in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank on Thursday night as the jets fled Syrian airspace.

“This blatant Israeli act of aggression came as part of the zionist enemy’s persistence in supporting Isis terrorist gangs,” the command said in a statement.

It said the target was a facility somewhere near Palmyra in central Syria — some 150 miles from Israeli territory.

Lebanese media reported that Badie Hamya, a commander of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement — one of Syria’s closest allies — had been killed.

Israel confirmed that it had carried out a raid and that its aircraft had come under fire from Syrian missiles, but denied that any of them had been hit.

It said the missiles were shot down by its Arrow antiballistic missile system and fell in neighbouring Jordan, which the Jordanian armed forces confirmed.

Israel has frequently bombed troops fighting al-Qaida-affiliated militants in south-western Syria. But this was the first strike deep into Syria against government forces battling Isis.

On Thursday, the US military Central Command HQ in Florida said its forces had killed “several terrorists” in a strike on an al-Qaida meeting place in Syria’s north-western Idlib province.

But the White Helmets group and the Coventry-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the raid had hit a mosque in Jeeneh, killing at least 35 and injuring many more. Fragments of US-made ordnance were found at the scene.

Centcom spokesman Major Josh Jacques disputed this yesterday, saying: “We targeted an al-Qaida gathering across the street from a mosque. The mosque does not appear to be damaged following the strike.”