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Israel fires missiles inside Syria, kills Palestinian boy in West Bank

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DAMASCUS: Israel has fired several missiles at Syria’s border province of Quneitra, causing “material damage”. While Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian teenage boy in the occupied West Bank.

A Syrian military statement did not give details about the positions that came under attack early on Wednesday.

Syria state TV quoted an unnamed Syrian military official as saying that the missiles were fired from Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and struck areas around the nearby town of Quneitra.

It added that the attack that occurred shortly after midnight did not cause any casualties.

Wednesday’s attack came nearly a week after Syrian state media reported a similar Israeli missile attack on an area south of the capital, Damascus.

An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment on the attack.

This is the third Israeli aerial strike on Syria this month, after it targeted anti-aircraft batteries on February 9 in response to what it said was a missile fired from Syria, and fired several surface-to-surface missiles targeting sites south of Damascus on February 17.

Israel has launched hundreds of attacks on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria over the past decade of Syria’s war, but its government rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel, whose attacks have targeted government positions as well as Iran-backed forces and fighters of the armed Shia movement Hezbollah, has said it seeks to prevent Iran from extending a footprint in Syria.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war and later annexed the area.

Most of the world does not recognize the annexation, though the United States government under Donald Trump declared the territory to be part of Israel.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian health ministry said, Israeli soldiers killed a teenage Palestinian boy in the occupied West Bank.

“Mohammed Shehadeh, 14, was killed by Israeli forces’ gunfire in Al-Khader,” in the Bethlehem area, a ministry statement said, urging an international investigation.

The Palestinian Wafa news agency quoted local activist Ahmad Salah as saying that Israeli soldiers opened live fire injuring Shehadeh before detaining him and that soldiers prevented ambulances from reaching him.

Israel’s army confirmed in a statement the death of a Palestinian, whom it said was among three suspects who “hurled Molotov cocktails at passing drivers, endangering their lives”.

Troops were “conducting counterterrorism activity” in the Al-Khader area where numerous civilian vehicles had been targeted by the incendiary devices during the past month, the army said.

“The troops operated to stop them, firing at one of the suspects that hurled a Molotov cocktail toward passing vehicles. The suspect was hit,” it said.

Troops provided first aid but the suspect died, it added.

The killing comes days after another teen, 19-year-old Nehad Amin Barghouti, was killed and shot by Israeli forces in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh.

Palestinian and international rights groups have long condemned what they see as a policy of shoot to kill and excessive use of force.

B’Tselem, an Israeli rights group, said it had recorded 77 Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israeli forces in the West Bank last year. More than half of those killed were not implicated in any attacks, it added.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International said in a new report that Israel was carrying out “the crime of apartheid against Palestinians” and must be held accountable for treating them as “an inferior racial group”.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem after the 1967 Middle East war.

Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law. Today, between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers live in at least 250 illegal settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

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