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“26 people killed” in rocket attacks on military sites in Syria

SYRIA (OBSERVATORY) – A number of military sites in northern and central Syria were bombed by rockets, local media said, killing dozens of people.

The rockets hit areas in the provinces of Hama and Aleppo, the Syrian army said. According to semi-official Iranian media, the dead included Iranians.

It is reported that the rocket attack targeted weapons stores and command centers.

Syrian state television described the attack as a new “aggression” by its enemies. “The attack took place around 10:30 pm local time,” he said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the opposition, said Sunday’s attack targeted a missile store and killed 26 people, mostly Iranians and Iraqis.

It is not known who is responsible for the attacks. Western countries and Israel have been hit by sites in Syria.

The television had said earlier that he heard the sound of successive explosions in the countryside of the province of Hama and authorities are investigating why.

A source in the opposition said one of the sites hit was an army base known as the 47th Brigade near the city of Hama, and is widely known as a recruiting center for Iranian-backed Shi’ite fighters fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

A source closely following the situation in Syria said several rocket attacks appeared to have hit several Iranian-backed command centers and dozens of wounded and dead.

There was no comment from the Israeli army about the latest attack, less than a month after Iran, Russia and the Syrian government accused Israel of involvement in the air attack on the al-Turf base.

Israeli media and social networking sites reported that Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces were at the base, which was attacked on Sunday night.

But Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported on Monday reports of a missile attack on an Iranian military base in Syria were baseless and denied killing Iranians in attacks on a number of military bases in Hama and Aleppo.

“All those reports of the attack … and the killing of a number of Iranian military advisers in Syria is baseless,” the agency quoted an unnamed source as saying.

On April 14, the United States, France and Britain launched an attack on facilities they said were chemical weapons centers. On April 9, Israel reportedly bombed an airforce base used as an Iranian drone command center.

Seven Iranian soldiers were killed in the attack, among the 14 soldiers who died there. The attack on the air base prompted Iran to warn it would respond.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this month that his country would continue to “act against Iran in Syria.”

The New York Times earlier this month quoted an unnamed Israeli military source as saying Israel had bombed a Syrian air base used by Iran.

Israel said Iran was strengthening its influence in a strip of land stretching from the Iraqi border to the Lebanese border, where Israel says Iran is supplying Hezbollah with weapons.

Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed factions have a large military presence in Syria and have a presence in central and eastern areas near the Iraqi border.

There is concern in Israel over Russia’s sale of advanced S-300 defense systems to the Syrian government. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on the morning of the attack that Israel would not stop its military operations in Syria, adding at a news conference that the dilemma faced by Israel is Iran.