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14 killed in Syria airbase attack, Israel blamed

Damascus, April 9: At least 14 people were killed on Monday in an airbase attack in central Syria, which the Assad regime and Russia blamed on Israel, according to media reports. “The Syrian air defences have confronted an Israeli missile attack on T-4 airport and shot down eight missiles,” the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SA) quoted a military source as saying. The source said the missiles were fired from the Lebanese airspace by Israeli F-15 fighter jets, However, the news agency did not comment on the number of casualties, saying “There were martyrs and wounded.” UK-based war monitor group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Iranians were among 14 dead at the base. Initially the news agency said it was likely “an American aggression”. But following a denial by the US, the Russian military and Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime accused Israel of carrying out the attack. US officials said that “Washington did not launch the Monday strike”. “At this time, the Department of Defence is not conducting air strikes in Syria,” the Pentagon said in a statement. Israel, which has previously hit Syrian targets, has not commented. The target of the missile strike was the Tiyas airbase — also known as the T-4 airbase — near the city of Homs. Russia’s Defence Ministry said that of the eight missiles, five were shot down and three reached the western part of the aerodrome. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita