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Israel has said it has struck targets in Syria, which follow a warning by President Joe Biden to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his government was losing international support for its war against Hamas.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Wednesday that its aircraft and tanks had conducted strikes on Syrian army infrastructure as well as a Hezbollah launcher in neighboring Lebanon following rocket attacks on northern Israel, The Times of Israel reported.
Hezbollah had claimed responsibility for earlier attacks from Lebanon while three rockets were fired from Syria on Tuesday, apparently by an Iran-backed group, the Times said. The IDF released drone footage of what it said was Israel’s response.
In a post on X, the IDF said that launches from Hezbollah were the second this week by the Iranian proxy, and one rocket landed around 300 feet from a United Nations compound, “with additional launches toward Israel from the same area.”
“By continuing to fire from areas near U.N. compounds, Hezbollah systematically violates UNSC [United Nations Security Council] Resolution 1701 and endangers the lives of UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] soldiers.” Newsweek has contacted the IDF for further comment.
“We’ve seen some interesting moves surrounding Iran and its proxies as Israel advanced into the center of Hamas’ stronghold and birthplace in Khan Younis and following the leak surrounding Israel’s proposed plan to flood Hamas’s tunnel network with seawater,” said Middle East regional analyst Avi Melamed, who is a former Israeli intelligence official.
“At the same time, we now see Iran joining the growing voices calling for a humanitarian ceasefire, something the country has not yet done given the propaganda its perpetuated surrounding Hamas’s victory over the IDF, almost a 180-move on the posturing front,” he told Newsweek.
The strikes follow comments by Biden which pointed to a rift between the White House and Netanyahu over the trajectory of the war that followed the October 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel, which killed about 1,200 people.
Soon after, Biden visited Israel where he stood shoulder to shoulder with Netanyahu and pledged U.S. support in the fight against Hamas militants.
Since then, Israeli forces have besieged Gaza with more than 18,000 people confirmed killed according to Palestinian health authorities, Reuters reported on Wednesday with many thousands more feared lost in the rubble.
Following a collapsed ceasefire, Israeli forces have extended their ground campaign from the northern Gaza Strip into the south and stormed the main southern city of Khan Younis.
Biden said Israel was losing international support for its campaign against Hamas because of its “indiscriminate bombing,” while Netanyahu has publicly rejected American plans for post-war Gaza.
Biden told Democratic donors in Washington that Netanyahu “has to change” but his government—the “most conservative” in the nation’s history—was “making it very difficult for him to move.”
Israel reported on Wednesday that 10 of its soldiers had been killed in the past 24 hours, according to Reuters. Among the dead in its worst one-day loss since October 31, when 15 were killed, were a full colonel commanding a forward base and a lieutenant-colonel commanding a regiment.
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