Israeli air strikes targeting the Islamic Jihad militant group in the Gaza Strip and Syria killed at least six fighters, a war monitor said yesterday, after the jihadists fired a barrage of rockets at Israel.
In the latest tit-for-tat violence ahead of a March 2 general election in the Jewish state, the Israeli Air Force targeted "Islamic Jihad terror sites" throughout Gaza and near the Syrian capital Damascus, a military statement said.
It followed more than 20 rockets and mortars fired from the Palestinian enclave, themselves a response to the killing of an Islamic Jihad militant along the Gaza-Israel border.
Islamic Jihad, which along with allied group Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, operates in both the Gaza Strip and Syria.
The Israeli army said it had struck Islamic Jihad targets on the outskirts of Damascus, including a base "used as a hub" for the group's activities in the country.
Islamic Jihad, which is allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, confirmed early yesterday that two of its fighters were killed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, later confirmed that four additional pro-Assad, Iran-backed fighters died in the strike.
At least one of the Iran-backed fighters was Syrian, while the nationalities of the others remained unknown, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad fired a further volley of rockets and mortars from Gaza towards Israel yesterday.
Israel's army said in a statement that 20 "projectiles" had been fired from the Palestinian enclave, 18 of them intercepted by its air defence systems.