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Hizbullah Fighters Killed in Israeli Raids in Syria

FILE- An Israeli Air Force F-15 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli airforce pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel

The strikes were the second wave of Israeli raids in Syria in less than a week, AFP reported.

Israeli airstrikes on Iranian-linked targets in eastern Syria that killed 57 people Tuesday night were carried out with intelligence provided by the United States, a senior US intelligence official confirmed.

Israel has been stepping up strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, part of aggressive posture adopted before President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week in what could bring a reassessment of Trump's "maximum pressure" policy on Iran.

The Observatory said it recorded 39 Israeli strikes inside Syria in 2020 that hit 135 targets, including military posts, warehouses or vehicles.

Iran has members of its own military as well as fighters from a variety of nationalities fighting with militias it supports deployed across Syria.

"At 1:10 am, the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault on the town of Deir Ezzor and the Boukamal region", SANA said, citing a military source.

SANA said officials were assessing if any damage or casualties were caused.

Forces linked to Hezbollah and the Fatemiyoun Brigade, an Afghan Shia militia, operated in the areas that were attacked, it added.

Hizbullah Fighters Killed in Israeli Raids in Syria

Al-Alam, an Arabic news channel broadcasting from Iran and owned by the state, reported that more than 18 sites had been targeted.

AP quoted a senior USA intelligence official with knowledge of the attack as saying that the airstrikes were carried out with intelligence provided by the United States and targeted a series of warehouses in Syria that were being used as a part of the pipeline to store and stage Iranian weapons.

"They burnt Iranian positions in Deir el-Zour", said Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based activist from Syria's eastern Deir el-Zour province who runs an activist collective that reports on news in the border area.

He described the air strikes as "a painful blow that indicates how much the Israelis are monitoring Iranian movements in every inch of Syria".

The last strikes on Jan 7 targeted positions in southern Syria and in the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus, killing three pro-Iran fighters.

Wednesday's were the deadliest strikes attributed to Israel since the start of the war in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman called the Israeli raids the "deadliest since June 2018" when strikes on the same region killed at least 55 pro-government fighters, including Iraqis as well as Syrians.

They come amid heightened tensions in the region, with Israeli and USA forces on alert for attacks by Iran to avenge the United States assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani a year ago.