Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

National news

June 23, 2014

Israeli military carries out airstrikes in Syria

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli warplanes bombed the Syrian military headquarters and a number of other targets inside Syria, the Israeli military said Monday, in a blistering response to a cross-border attack that left an Israeli teenager dead the previous day.

In all, Israel said it struck nine military targets inside Syria, and "direct hits were confirmed." In addition to the Syrian military headquarters, Israel said it targeted unspecified "launching positions." There was no immediate response from Syria.

In Sunday's attack, an Israeli civilian vehicle was struck by forces in Syria as it drove in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. A teenage boy was killed and two other people were wounded in the first deadly incident along the volatile Israeli-Syrian front since Syria's civil war erupted more than three years ago.

"Yesterday's attack was an unprovoked act of aggression against Israel, and a direct continuation to recent attacks that occurred in the area," said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman. He said the military "will not tolerate any attempt to breach Israel's sovereignty and will act in order to safeguard the civilians of the state of Israel."

The sudden burst of violence has added to the tense situation in Israel, where forces have spent the past week and half in a broad ground operation in the West Bank in search of three teenage boys believed to have been abducted by Hamas militants.

Israel has carefully monitored the fighting in Syria, but has generally kept its distance and avoided taking sides. On several occasions, mortar shells and other types of fire have landed on the Israeli side of the de facto border, drawing limited Israeli reprisals. Israel is also believed to have carried out several airstrikes on arms shipments it believed to be headed from Syria to Hezbollah militants in neighboring Lebanon. But never before has Israel gone after a target like the Syrian military headquarters.

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