Strike in Syria-Iraq Border Kills 18 Iran-backed Militiamen, Watchdog Says

Lebanon's Hezbollah downed an Israeli unmanned aircraft outside the southern town of Ramyah, the movement's Al-Manar TV said early on Monday. 

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 39

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 39Haaretz

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The Israeli drone is now in the hands of Hezbollah's fighters, the Iran-backed group added in a statement. 

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that the drone was downed in southern Lebanon during routine activity, ruling out intelligence leak.

>> How Israel, Hezbollah and Iran almost went to war this week | Analysis ■ Lebanon pays the price for a burden called Hezbollah | Analysis 

Several hours earlier, Syrian media outlets said that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) struck Iran-back militias in eastern Syria.

Media outlets affiliated with the Syrian opposition, basing their reports on those of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights', said the UAVs attacked militias near Al Bukamal, close to the Syria-Iraq border.

Eighteen Iran-back militia members were killed in the strike, the British-based watchdog said on Monday. The Assad regime and Syrian state media didn't report the incident.   

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Hezbollah and the Israeli army exchanged cross-border fire earlier this month after a drone attack last week in a Hezbollah-controlled Beirut suburb.

Hezbollah blamed that incident on Israel, raising fears of a wider regional conflict.

In August, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that his Shi'ite group would retaliate for drone attacks in Beirut that he has attributed to Israel "in every possible place along the border."

Last week Fox News reported that the Iranian military is building a new military base in Syria, citing multiple Western intelligence sources.

The report said that the new Iranian compound, dubbed Imam Ali and situated on the Syria-Iraq border where Monday's alleged strike took place, is being built from scratch by the Al-Quds forces and its construction was approved by top Tehran leaders.

The base is located 150 kilometers Southeast of Deir ez-Zur, near the Albukamal-Qaim crossing, a major supply route across the Middle East.

This is a developing story…