Published: 11:33, February 7, 2024 | Updated: 13:01, February 7, 2024
Syria: Israel fired missiles at various sites in central Syria
By Xinhua

In this file photo taken on Aug 15, 2018, people ride their motorcycle by damaged buildings in the old town of Homs, Syria. (PHOTO / AP)

DAMASCUS/BEIRUT - An Israeli missile attack targeted areas in the central province of Homs after midnight Wednesday, Syria’s state TV reported.

The attack was conducted at around 12:30 am local time on Wednesday (2130 GMT) from over the northern Lebanese region of Tripoli, targeting various sites in the city of Homs and its vicinity, said the Syrian Defense Ministry.

The Syrian air defenses intercepted and destroyed several missiles, while a few others landed in the Al-Qusayr countryside, resulting in fires in the area.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine explosions were heard in Homs and its countryside as a result of the attack.

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Five people were injured when a residential building collapsed on Al-Hamra street as a result of the attack, according to local media.

This attack was the latest in a series of Israeli strikes on military sites in Syria. 

The Observatory said Israel also shelled sites belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah on the outskirts of Homs.  

‘Israel threatened border escalation’

In Beirut, Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister Abdallah Bou Habib on Tuesday said Israel has threatened war with Lebanon to enable the return of some 100,000 displaced Israeli settlers to border areas.

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne (left) speaks with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut, Lebanon, Feb 6, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

Bou Habib said he informed Sejourne that Lebanon does not want war but rather an agreement on the full implementation of UN Resolution 1701, including Israel's complete withdrawal from all Lebanese lands

Bou Habib made the remarks to reporters after he met with visiting French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne.

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He said the top French envoy "carried an Israeli warning about the possibility of escalation on Israel's northern border with Lebanon to return its (Israel's) displaced settlers", according to the official National News Agency (NNA).

Bou Habib said he informed Sejourne that Lebanon does not want war but rather an agreement on the full implementation of UN Resolution 1701, including Israel's complete withdrawal from all Lebanese lands.

"If this is achieved, our security problems with Israel will end; our only problem with the Israelis will be the Palestinian issue," Bou Habib said.

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Lebanon's army commander Joseph Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati also met with Sejourne, who claimed to visit the country to "stop military operations" and to foster peace in the southern Lebanese border region.

Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli airstrike on the southern Lebanese village of Tayr Harfa near the border with Israel on Feb 6, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

Also on Tuesday, Hezbollah and the Israeli army continued their military clashes in border areas, with the Israeli forces carrying out air strikes against the villages of Tayr Harfa and Houla and the town of Marwahin, according to the NNA.

Hezbollah said its fighters attacked the Ramim barracks and the Israeli sites in al-Marj, Kfarchouba, and Shebaa Farms in addition to attacking spy equipment in Rowaisat al-Alam.

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The Lebanon-Israel border witnessed increased tension since Oct 8 after Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets toward Israel in support of the Hamas attacks on Israel the previous day, prompting Israel to respond by firing heavy artillery toward southeastern Lebanon.

The confrontations between Hezbollah and Israel have killed 250 on the Lebanese side, including 179 Hezbollah members and 39 civilians, according to Lebanese security sources.