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Syria says Israel bombed Latakia port overnight

Syrians walk by the sea in the coastal city of Latakia, a stronghold of Syria's president, on 17 March 2016. [LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images]
Syrians walk by the sea in the coastal city of Latakia, a stronghold of Syria's president, on 17 March 2016. [LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images]

Syria has accused Israel of carrying out an airstrike on the key port of Latakia in the early hours today, targeting shipping containers and causing a fire in the storage area. There were no reported casualties.

A Syrian military source told SANA that at approximately 1.23 am Israeli warplanes launched several missiles from the direction of the Mediterranean against the commercial port. "The firefighting teams were able to put out the blaze that erupted at the port after the Israeli attack," explained the governor of Latakia, Ismail Hilal.

While Israel has frequently targeted what it describes as Iranian interests in Syria, including positions where Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters have been deployed, the attack on Latakia is seen as "highly irregular" by the Times of Israel. The newspaper speculated that the targets were chosen to disrupt Iranian supply lines to Hezbollah forces.

Latakia is Syria's main commercial port, through which food and other important supplies flow into the country. Israel has been reluctant to attack the area as it is close to Russia's Hmeimim Air Base. The last time that Israel was reported as carrying out strikes in the city was in 2018, when a Russian military plane was shot down accidentally by Syrian anti-aircraft defence systems. This led to Moscow blaming Israel's "irresponsible actions" for the incident, in which all 15 on board the Russian aircraft were killed.

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IsraelMiddle EastNewsSyria
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