Israeli airstrike on coastal Syrian villages injured 2

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DAMASCUS, Syria – Israel carried out an airstrike on a coastal Syrian village near the border with Lebanon on Saturday morning, Syrian state media said. Two people, including a woman, were injured.

The attack was the first since a June 10 Israeli airstrike on the international airport in the Syrian capital Damascus caused significant damage to infrastructure and runways and rendered the main runway unusable. The airport was closed for two weeks and flights resumed on 23 June.

State news agency SANA reported that Israeli warplanes flying over northern Lebanon fired missiles at several chicken farms in the village of Hamidieh south of the coastal city of Tartus. The attack took place a few kilometers (miles) north of the border with Lebanon.

SANA reported that two people were injured in addition to material damage.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes against targets in Syria over the years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. Israel says it is attacking militia bases allied to Iran, such as Hezbollah, which has fighters stationed in Syria fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces, and ships carrying weapons believed to be destined for the militias .

The strike at Damascus International Airport marked a major escalation in Israel’s campaign, further heightening tensions between Israel on the one hand and Iran and its Lebanese ally, the militant group Hezbollah, on the other.

The attack occurred on Saturday hours before Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdolakhian arrived in Syria to meet with senior Syrian officials.

Iran is one of Assad’s strongest backers, sending thousands of fighters from across the region to help his troops in Syria’s 11-year conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.

A UN report last week said the conflict, which began in March 2011, had killed more than 300,000 civilians.

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