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Israel drone targets Hezbollah official inside Syria border with Lebanon

April 16, 2020 at 2:39 pm

Israel fired missiles at a vehicle carrying four members of Hezbollah, in Syria near the border with Lebanon on 15 April 2020 [Hussien Zalzali /Twitter]

An Israeli military drone fired two missiles at a vehicle carrying four members of Lebanese Hezbollah just inside Syria near the border with Lebanon yesterday.

Local media reported no causalities, but the car, a black Jeep Grand Cherokee, was severely damaged.

Sources said the first strike missed, and the four men got out of the car before a second strike hit the vehicle.

A source, quoted anonymously by AFP because he was not authorised to speak to the press, said: “An Israeli drone first struck near a car transporting Hezbollah members… the passengers got out before it was then directly hit in a second strike.”

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A Lebanese security official at the border corroborated the story, telling Arab News, “the Israeli plane targeted the car near the Zabadani Bridge inside Syrian territory, but did not hit it.”

Adding, “it was targeted near a pastry shop called Al-Haidair near the Jadida Yabus crossing. Those in the car jumped out of it before it was hit, and miraculously survived, because the car was burned and badly damaged.”

Reports suggest the vehicle was not expected to cross the Jadida Yabus crossing, which is closed except for commercial transit, as part coronavirus lockdown measures in Lebanon, but was travelling to Damascus.

Syrian news agency SANA reported material damage to a “civilian car” in the same area, without mentioning which party had hit it.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Nasif Hitti denounced the attack, saying in a statement today: “We condemn the aggression carried out by an Israeli warplane on a Lebanese civilian vehicle targeting it with two missiles.”

Hitti has “given instructions to the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations to submit a complaint with the Security Council about this violation.”

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There was no comment from Israeli authorities, but the attack comes a week after the Israeli army published a video of Syrian and Hezbollah leaders in the Golan Heights, amid numerous flights of Israeli drones and warplanes into Lebanese airspace.

Israel rarely acknowledges individual attacks in Syria but has admitted targeting Iranian forces in the country since the start of the civil war in 2011.

Israeli officials claim attacks on “legitimate Iranian targets” are intended to prevent the Islamic Republic from entrenching its military in Syria.

Iran-backed Hezbollah has officially been fighting in Syria supporting the Assad regime since 2013.