JERUSALEM — Russia accused Israel of striking an air base in central Syria that killed 14, and two unnamed U.S. officials reportedly confirmed that it was Israel that carried out the attack.
Iranian nationals were among those killed in the early Monday morning missile strikes, according to reports.
The strikes came less than two days after a chemical weapons attack in the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma, for which both the United States and France threatened to retaliate. At least 40 people have died in the chemical weapons attack.
NBC on Monday quoted the U.S. officials as saying that Israel had carried out the attack, and that Washington had been notified in advance.
Syria first blamed the United States for the attack on the air base, which the U.S. denied. After Russia accused Israel, Syrian state media quoted the military saying that it was Israeli F-15 war planes that had carried out the strikes.
“The Israeli aggression on the T4 airport was carried out with F-15 planes that fired several missiles from above Lebanese land,” state news agency SANA said. The Tiyas, or T4, military air base reportedly has been in use most recently by Iran-backed forces.
Israel, as is its standing policy, has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the attack. Moscow reportedly has called on Israel to clarify its involvement.
In February, the Israeli Air Force downed an Iranian drone that came from the Tiyas base in airspace over northern Israel, and followed the infiltration by attacking 12 targets in Syria, including three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria.
The Israeli military reportedly struck Syrian military targets twice during December and once during January, but did not confirm the reports. Israel reportedly has carried out dozens of airstrikes on Syria’s army and its allies since 2011.