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Israel launches airstrikes in Syria, Lebanon after rocket attacks, escalation fears mount

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Israel has conducted airstrikes on military targets in both Syria and Lebanon, according to statements from the Israeli military. The airstrikes come as tensions rise in the wake of rocket attacks on Israeli territory and amidst concerns that the Israeli offensive against Hamas could trigger a broader regional conflict in the Middle East.

Early on Monday, Israeli fighter jets targeted rocket launchers in Syria and key Hezbollah locations in Lebanon in response to previous rocket attacks aimed at Israeli territory. The Israeli military reported these strikes as a measured response to protect its citizens.

Several of the airstrikes were concentrated on military posts in the southwestern Syrian city of Daraa, resulting in “some material losses,” as stated by Syria’s defense ministry. The ministry revealed that these strikes occurred at approximately 1:35 am (2335 GMT) and were carried out “from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan,” targeting two positions of Syrian armed forces in the Daraa countryside.

This marks a continuation of Israel’s ongoing cross-border clashes with the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah and its repeated air raids on Syria, which began with its military operations against Hamas.

The United States has also taken action in response to a notable increase in rocket and drone attacks on its forces in Syria and Iraq. These attacks have been attributed to Iran-backed proxy groups, and the Pentagon recently announced strikes on two facilities in Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran-backed groups. President Joe Biden had previously pledged to respond to such attacks on U.S. personnel.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has issued warnings about the potential for regional escalation if Israel continues its military campaign against Hamas. He stated earlier this month that “Muslims and resistance forces will become impatient, and no one can stop them.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin also weighed in on the situation, cautioning that the conflict could spill “beyond the borders of the Middle East” unless Israel halts its bombardment of Gaza.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan voiced concerns on Sunday, emphasizing the “real” risk of the conflict expanding into a broader regional confrontation.

Amidst these developments, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian conveyed his country’s desire to prevent the war from spreading further. He criticized Washington for attributing attacks on U.S. forces to Tehran without presenting conclusive evidence.

Iran, which supports both Hamas and Hezbollah, has consistently denied involvement in the October 7 attacks on Israel launched by Hamas. U.S. and Israeli officials have stated that they have not found evidence linking Iran to these attacks.

Notably, Iranian government officials extended their congratulations to the Palestinian armed group, characterizing the surprise attack as a victory for “the anti-Zionist resistance.” The situation remains fluid and continues to be a matter of international concern.

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