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Israeli jets attack Syria for second time this week in US-backed shadow war

SYRIAN air defences have intercepted an Israeli missile strike on the western city of Homs, state media reported today — the second such attack launched by Tel Aviv this week.

Army sources said there was some limited damage but no casualties were reported.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) did not comment on the incident.

It followed an air raid on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Monday which Western intelligence sources said was part of a US-backed shadow war.

People living in northern Lebanon reported hearing Israeli jets and explosions while footage of the attack, which showed rockets landing in at least two villages, went viral on social media.

Homs province borders Lebanon and the Shi’ite movement Hezbollah is known to control large parts of the region.

Its soldiers have played a key role in Syrian efforts to defeat Isis and other jihadist groups that once held large swathes of the country.

Thousands of Hezbollah fighters have been killed alongside those from the Syrian Arab Army as government forces have regained control of most of the country; the Islamists are currently holed up in the northern Idlib province where they are supported by Turkish troops.

Rumours of an Israeli invasion have persisted in Hezbollah circles and were given some credence when Tel Aviv fired rockets into southern Lebanon earlier this week.

The economic crisis in Lebanon is set to deepen after US President Joe Biden extended a so-called national emergency for another year.

It is aimed at disarming Hezbollah, which is allowed to carry weapons under the provisions of the 1989 Taif Agreement.

According to Mr Biden, the supply of arms to Hezbollah from Iran “undermines Lebanon’s national security and poses a threat to the security of the US.”

He blames this for the political and economic instability in the region, which has suffered from the impact of US sanctions under the Caesar Act.

Lebanon has been without a government since its entire cabinet resigned in the wake of last August’s Beirut port explosion.

Mass protests erupted in late 2019 calling for democratic revolution and an end to the sectarian political system, in which key government posts are divided between representatives of different religious communities. The Communist Party of Lebanon has called all democratic forces to hit the streets on August 4, the anniversary of the explosion, to renew pressure for revolution.

Consultations will begin on Monday to choose a new prime minister after Saad al-Hariri resigned last week.

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