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Hezbollah's Nasrallah: Israel made 'historic mistake' in Syria

Israel accused of placing itself in 'direct' confrontation with Iran with suspected attack on military airbase in Homs.

Hassan Nasrallah

A suspected Israeli missile assault on a Syrian airbase in Homs province was a "historic mistake", the leader of Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah has said in a televised speech.

Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, that Israel has placed itself in direct combat with Iran, referring to missile attacks that targeted military sites in Syria on April 9.

Two Israeli warplanes, using Lebanese airspace, fired eight missiles at the T-4 military airbase, according to the Russian military.

The attack at the airbase, located 40km west of Palmyra, killed about 14 people, at least four of whom were Iranians from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps - a separate force from Iran's army that answers only to the country's supreme leader.

Nasrallah described the attack as unprecedented in the region and said it could not be overlooked.

The missile strike followed a suspected chemical attack targeting Douma, a former rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus that saw a two-month offensive by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

There has been no immediate comment by Israeli officials on the issue.

In his speech, Nasrallah described the suspected chemical attack, which killed at least 85 civilians, including women and children, as a "theatrical play", and cleared the Syrian government of responsibility amid a chorus of Western accusations against it.

He cautioned the US against any military intervention in Syria, saying it would pit the country in a battle with "the people of the region" rather than "armies or organisations".

He dismissed President Donald Trump's Twitter posts as posing no threat to Russia, Iran or Syria.

Nasrallah's remarks came shortly before the Israel military announced on Friday that an Iranian drone it shot down in February was armed with explosives.

The drone that had entered Israeli airspace was "tasked to attack Israel", an investigation by the Israeli military has concluded.

The Israeli army launched "large-scale" attacks inside Syria in what it claimed was its response to the Iranian drone's presence in occupied Golan Heights, and the subsequent downing of an Israeli fighter jet by Syrian air defence forces.

Israel is technically at war with Syria and occupies a chunk of the strategic Golan Heights that it seized in the Six Day War of 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the  Syria conflict but acknowledges carrying out dozens of air raids there to stop what it calls deliveries of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah.


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