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Syria Missile Strikes Reportedly Kill at Least 16

April 29, 2018

Amos Yadlin, the former head of intelligence for the Israeli military and now executive director of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said that Iranian officials may have issued the denial so that they would not be compelled to strike back.

“If there are no Iranian casualties, you are not committed to retaliation,” Mr. Yadlin said in a conference call with reporters on Monday.

But he said he expected that Iran would eventually respond to this month’s attacks, although it was not clear when or where. “The Iranian retaliation is on its way,” he said.

Syria Missile Strikes Reportedly Kill at Least 16Syria Missile Strikes Reportedly Kill at Least 16

The Israeli military does not confirm or deny its involvement in specific attacks in Syria, and it declined to comment on the strikes on Sunday. But its security cabinet convened an emergency meeting on Monday, apparently to discuss the rising tensions with Israel’s northern neighbors.

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Over seven years of war that have shattered Syria, Iran has dispatched military officers to help the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and has mobilized militants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere to fight on his behalf.

Israel has accused Iran of building a military infrastructure in Syria, repeatedly bombing targets that it says are part of Iranian efforts to increase the military abilities of its allies near Israel’s borders.

The allies include Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political party that has grown in recent years into a regional military force in its own right.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain but monitors Syria through contacts there, said that the attacks on Sunday had killed at least 26 people, many of them Iranians.

The strikes hit munitions warehouses at the 47th Brigade military base in central Hama Province that Iran and its proxies used, destroying ground-to-ground missiles and causing large explosions, the observatory said.

The blast was large enough that it was picked up by earthquake monitors. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre reported a disturbance in the area of the base with a magnitude of 2.6, it said, equivalent to a minor earthquake.

Another attack struck the Neirab military air base near Aleppo, the observatory said.

An official from a regional alliance that includes Iran, Syria and Hezbollah confirmed that the strikes near Hama had hit a storage facility on the base and said they had destroyed 200 missiles and killed 16 people, including 11 Iranians. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

He and other regional officials allied with Iran said they expected Tehran to retaliate against Israel for the strikes, perhaps after parliamentary elections in Lebanon, scheduled for May 6, in which candidates from Hezbollah are running.

Follow Ben Hubbard on Twitter:@NYTBen.

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Beirut, Thomas Erdbrink from Tehran, and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem.

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