Israel Targets Air Defense System in Syria, State News Agency Says 

A picture taken early on 21 January, 2019 shows Syrian air defense batteries responding to what the Syrian state media said were Israeli missiles targeting Damascus. (AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken early on 21 January, 2019 shows Syrian air defense batteries responding to what the Syrian state media said were Israeli missiles targeting Damascus. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Israel Targets Air Defense System in Syria, State News Agency Says 

A picture taken early on 21 January, 2019 shows Syrian air defense batteries responding to what the Syrian state media said were Israeli missiles targeting Damascus. (AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken early on 21 January, 2019 shows Syrian air defense batteries responding to what the Syrian state media said were Israeli missiles targeting Damascus. (AFP/Getty Images)

Israel carried out a missile strike targeting an air defense unit in its south and causing material damage, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency quoted a military statement as saying Friday.

The warplanes were seen around the time loud noises and drones were reported near a major Iranian air base and nuclear site early Friday. That area of Syria is directly west of Isfahan, some 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) away, and east of Israel. Iran fired air defense batteries early Friday and some flights were diverted or grounded after reports of explosions near a major airbase and nuclear site where drones were spotted.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken didn’t comment about the latest Middle East developments as he arrived for the final session Friday morning of a Group of Seven foreign ministers’ meeting in Capri, Italy.

Israel has vowed to respond to Iran’s unprecedented weekend attack, leaving the region bracing for further escalation after months of fighting in Gaza. Allies have urged Israel to hold back on any response to the attack that could spiral.

The United States and Britain announced Thursday that they were imposing a new round of sanctions on Iran. The moves came as European Union leaders meeting in Brussels vowed to ramp up sanctions on Iran to target its drone and missile deliveries to proxies in Gaza, Yemen and Lebanon.

Regional tensions have increased since the start of the latest Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, when Hamas and Islamic Jihad — two armed groups backed by Iran — carried out a cross-border attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. Israel responded with an offensive in Gaza that has caused widespread devastation and killed more than 33,900 people, according to local health officials.



Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
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Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)

Yemen's Houthis will continue their military operations and escalate them "in quality and quantity" in support of Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, the Iran-backed group's leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a televised speech on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The group have been attacking ships in the Red Sea region since November, forcing shippers to re-route cargo to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

The group later expanded the scope of its attacks to the Indian Ocean and said it would also target any ships heading towards Israeli ports in the Mediterranean Sea.