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Israel launches large scale attack against Syria

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JERUSALEM — The Israeli army launched a large-scale attack against the Syrian aerial defense system and Iranian targets in Syria in response to an Israeli F-16 fighter shot down by missiles from Syria on Saturday morning.

Twelve targets, including three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria were attacked, said a statement issued by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

During the attack, anti-aircraft missiles were fired towards Israel, triggering alarms that were heard in northern Israel, said the Israeli army.

The IDF will “act determinately against such severe violations of Israeli sovereignty by Iran and Syria and will continue to act as necessary,” said the IDF in the statement.

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The IDF is “ready for various scenarios and will continue to act according to situation assessments,” added the IDF.

Israel aircraft attacked a number of Iranian targets in Syria in response to an Iranian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that was launched at Israeli territory and was intercepted by the Israeli army earlier Saturday.

The IDF confirmed with Xinhua that during the attack one Israeli F-16 fighter was hit and crashed. The two pilots of the fighter forced to abandon the fighter by parachute after the aircraft was hit. One pilot was in serious condition the other was lightly wounded.

Earlier, the IDF said that a combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel. In response, the IDF targeted Iranian targets in Syria.

Xinhua

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5 dead as gunman attacks churchgoers in Russia

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At least five people were killed and another five were injured when a gunman attacked a crowd of people leaving a church on Sunday in Russia’s southern province of Dagestan, Russian news agencies reported.

The attack occurred in the village of Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan.

Russian news agencies said the attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar.

CCTV footage from the site of the deadly shooting shows a man armed with a rifle gunning down two women in broad daylight.

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A bearded man clad in a black vest and camouflage pants was seen crossing the street before opening fire on two female churchgoers as they left a service in Kizlyar in the Republic of Dagestan on Sunday afternoon. A woman walking several meters from the attacker was seen rushing away as the bloodshed unfolded.

The attacker was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee.

He was shot and killed by security services who were on duty nearby, TASS said, adding that a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife were discovered on his person.

Initial reports suggested all five victims were women, TASS said, citing the local branch of the interior ministry.

Agencies

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