China defends bloody crackdown of Tiananmen protests

China has defended a bloody crackdown on protesters around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 30 years ago as the “correct policy”, in a rare acknowledgement of the heavily censored events.

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe, speaking at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore on Sunday, called the seven weeks of protests by students and workers demanding democratic changes and the eradication of corruption in 1989, political “turbulence”.

Tuesday marks the 30th anniversary of the June 4th government crackdown when Chinese tanks moved into the area and soldiers opened fire killing demonstrators as well as onlookers in and around Tiananmen Square.

Rights groups and witnesses say hundreds or even thousands may have been killed, but the government has kept a lid on what really happened and the number of dead.

“Everybody is concerned about Tiananmen after 30 years,” Wei said on Sunday.

“Throughout the 30 years, China under the Communist Party has undergone many changes – do you think the government was wrong with the handling of June Fourth? There was a conclusion to that incident. The government was decisive in stopping the turbulence.”

He added that China’s development since 1989 showed that the government’s actions were justified.

The Tiananmen protests were “political turmoil that the central government needed to quell, which was the correct policy,” he said. “Due to this, China has enjoyed stability, and if you visit China you can understand that part of history.”

His comments echoed those of Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian, who last week decried the use of the word “suppression” to describe the military’s response to the 1989 protests.

China at the time blamed the protests on counter-revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the party.

FILE PHOTO 5JUN89 - A Peking citizen stands passively in front of tanks on the Avenue of Eternal Peace in this June 5, 1989, file photo taken during the crushing of the Tiananmen Square uprising. The

Tuesday marks the 30th anniversary of the June 4th government crackdown [Arthur Tsang/Reuters]

Sensitive and censored

The crackdown remains one of the most sensitive subjects in mainland China and any mention is strictly censored.

The event will not be officially commemorated by the ruling Communist Party or government.

Meanwhile, dozens of activists rallied in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington on Saturday to commemorate the 30th anniversary.

Holding aloft banners and battery-powered candles, about 50 activists including Chinese political dissidents spoke of their hopes for democracy after the failure of the 1989 student protests that ended when the military intervened.

“I feel that people around the world are getting more and more impatient with the communist regime. And I feel that people start to realize that they can no longer tolerate this regime,” Wei Jingsheng, chairman of the Oversea Chinese Democracy Coalition, told AFP news agency.

According to rights groups several activists have been arrested in the country ahead of the anniversary, including artists and a writer, while popular livestreaming sites are shutting down for “technical reasons”.

Twitter apologized on Saturday for suspending accounts critical of the Chinese government days before the anniversary after users complained.

The company said the suspensions were an inadvertent byproduct of company targeting suspected “platform manipulation” and were not connected to any action by the Chinese government.

“Some of these were involved in commentary about China. These accounts were not mass reported by the Chinese authorities – this was a routine action on our part,” the company said.

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French Open: Konta v Vekic – radio & text

Johanna Konta

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Summary

  1. Britain’s Johanna Konta leads 23rd seed Donna Vekic 6-2 in French Open fourth round
  2. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal also in action later on Sunday
  3. Click the button at the top of page for commentary from the BBC 5 Live tennis team

Live Reporting

By Becky Grey

All times stated are UK

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  1. Post update

    Konta* 6-2 1-2 Vekic

    I’m not sure Vekic has got a first serve in in this game. She still manages to hold to love, though.

  2. Post update

    Konta 6-2 1-1 Vekic*

    Vekic looks frustrated as another first serve goes into the net. She wins the point, but has another chat with her box about it.

  3. Post update

    Konta 6-2 1-1 Vekic*

    Konta grabs control back, though. The 28-year-old shows great composure to hold.

  4. Post update

    Konta* 6-2 0-1 Vekic

    Konta is caught out at the net, then double faults and Vekic takes control of the game.

    But the Croat hits the ball long on the next point. 30-30.

  5. Post update

    Jonathan Jurejko

    BBC Sport at Roland Garros

    Vekic continues to chunter at her box in an expressive manner.

    Konta, whose mantra under new coach Dimitri Zavialoff is having “autonomy” on court, has barely exchanged a glance with her team.

  6. Post update

    Konta* 6-2 0-1 Vekic

    Konta hits the ball wide on the next point and Vekic gets her second hold of the match.

    Donna Vekic

    Copyright: Getty Images

  7. Post update

    Konta 6-2 0-0 Vekic*

    Looks like Vekic isn’t letting this one go without a fight. To be expected.

    The 23rd seed goes 40-0 up, but Konta comes to the net and hits a forehand cross court to get her first point of the second set.

    Donna Vekic

    Copyright: Getty Images

  8. Post update

    Jonathan Jurejko

    BBC Sport at Roland Garros

    Serious clutch play from Jo Ko. Whopping winners and splendid serving sees off the danger.

    Not too many vocal Brits here – probably too hot for our pasty people (me included) – but those who are here certainly made their pleasure heard.

  9. Post update

    Konta 6-2 Vekic

    Donna Vekic’s first-serve percentage was only 37% in that first set. Johanna Konta’s was up at 77%.

    Konta also served three aces and hit 15 winners. Not bad…

  10. Post update

    Konta 6-2 Vekic

    Russell Fuller

    BBC tennis correspondent at Roland Garros

    It has been another exceptional good performance from Johanna Konta. She has just been too good for Vekic in the 38 minutes of this set.

  11. Game and first set Konta

    Konta 6-2 Vekic

    Well it didn’t come easy, but Konta eventually closes out the set with an ace.

    Halfway to her first French Open quarter-final.

    Johanna Konta

    Copyright: Getty Images

  12. Post update

    Konta* 5-2 Vekic

    A double fault gives Vekic her fourth break point of this game.

    Needless to say, Konta is struggling to close this one out. The Brit fist pumps as she hits a cross-court forehand to bring it back to deuce again.

    Vekic hits a ball wide and Konta is one point from winning the set.

  13. Post update

    Konta* 5-2 Vekic

    Konta is on the ropes, but ducks out of Vekic’s grasp again! Back to deuce.

  14. Post update

    Konta* 5-2 Vekic

    Konta saves the break with her second ace of the match. Vekic has won just one of six break points she’s had so far.

    Another fault gives the Croat another go, though.

    Johanna Konta

    Copyright: Getty

  15. Post update

    Konta* 5-2 Vekic

    But Konta wobbles again. After an almost perfect serve, she hits her next shot long. Another break point for Vekic.

  16. Post update

    Konta* 5-2 Vekic

    What a shot! A backhand down the line means Konta saves break point.

  17. Post update

    Konta* 5-2 Vekic

    Konta’s forehand swings too far left and lands out. Break point Vekic.

  18. Post update

    Konta* 5-2 Vekic

    Vekic hits the ball long twice and Konta gets back on level pegging. The British number one is two points from winning the first set.

  19. Post update

    Konta* 5-2 Vekic

    Vekic catches Konta off-guard and fires a forehand cross-court. 0-15.

    Vekic repeats the same shot and it’s 0-30.

    Is Konta second-guessing herself?

  20. Post update

    Konta* 5-2 Vekic

    Naomi Cavaday

    BBC Radio 5 live tennis commentator at Roland Garros

    Jo Konta looks great, a game away with 29 minutes on the clock. It has been pretty much perfect and it looks sustainable.

    Her form does not look like it is going anywhere, whereas previously this season her good moments have been flashes rather than a solid basis she could rely on.

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Cruise ship loses control and ploughs into Venice wharf

news image

Updated

June 02, 2019 21:14:33

Terrified onlookers were forced to flee when a cruise ship lost control while docking in Venice, smashing into a wharf and hitting a tourist boat.

Key points:

  • The MSC Opera was captured ploughing into the dockside at the San Basilio Cruise Terminal
  • Two people were injured in the accident, according to Italian media
  • The crash reportedly occurred after a cable used to link cruise ships to tug boats snapped

The collision happened about 8:30am (local time) on the Giudecca Canal, a major thoroughfare that leads to Saint Mark’s Square.

In vision posted to social media, the vessel — identified by Italian media as the MSC Opera — is seen ploughing into the dockside at the San Basilio Cruise Terminal before hitting a smaller tourist boat.

Bystanders are seen running from the scene as the ship’s horn blares behind them.

“Back, back, back, back,” terminal staff yelled, as those nearby were ushered away from the incoming cruise ship.

Pino Musolino, chairman of the Northern Adriatic Sea Port Authority, said four people suffered minor injuries in the crash.

The cruise ship’s owner, MSC Cruises, said the ship was about to dock at a passenger terminal in Venice when it had a mechanical problem.

Two towboats guiding the cruise ship into Venice tried to stop the massive cruise ship, but they were unable to prevent it from ramming into the river boat.

“The two towboats tried to stop the giant and then a tow cable broke, cut by the collision with the river boat,” Davide Calderan, president of a towboat association in Venice, told the Italian news agency ANSA.

Mr Calderan said the cruise ship’s engine was locked when the captain called for help.

Vigili del Fuoco, Italy’s rescue service, said the situation was under control and divers were on scene.

Cruise ships have earned the ire of Venetians in recent years, with hundreds of vessels sailing into the Venice lagoon during the six-month tourist season.

Last year the city hosted 594 cruise ships, and critics claim the currents created as the ships pass by are damaging the Renaissance buildings.

ABC/Wires

Topics:

disasters-and-accidents,

accidents,

maritime,

industry,

tourism,

italy

First posted

June 02, 2019 20:10:03

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‘The pain is just beginning’: After 38,000 layoffs, Wall Street wakes up to ‘peak car’

  • Global demand for cars will decline 3% in 2019, analysts predict.
  • There have been 38,000 job losses among automakers in the last six months.
  • One stark example: Commercial vehicle exports from the UK collapsed by 89% in April.
  • The decline of cars will hurt GDP growth. It has already wiped 0.2% off global GDP.
  • The world may have already passed “peak car.”

For the auto business, “The pain is just beginning,” according to Nomura analyst Masataka Kunugimoto and his team. “We now expect global auto demand to be down 3%,” year on year, in 2019, he told clients recently.

He is not alone. At bank after bank, analysts are coming round to the idea that the world may have passed “peak car,” and that in the future humans will need fewer personal vehicles.

Certainly, they are telling clients, diesel vehicles will collapse into a small niche as their polluting exhausts are regulated out of existence. Petrol/gasoline vehicles will be next, as governments in Europe and the United States set dates for manufacturers to switch their models to electric.

But that’s not all. As on-demand services like Uber and Lyft grow their customer bases, more people will decide they no longer need to own a car of their own. Why would you, when it’s cheaper to ride around in someone else’s?

Just look at how analysts are talking about cars these days:

  • The industry is right now staring down the barrel of what we think is going to be a significant downturn,” Bank of America’s John Murphy told a conference last week. The decline of sales in China “is a real surprise,” he added.
  • “We expect passenger vehicle sales in Europe (ex-Russia) to fall 4%” year-on-year, to 15.06 million units in 2019, Nomura’s Kunugimoto says. In the US, he believes sales will go down 3% to 16.8 million cars.
  • “In our view, the peak in auto sales is clear,” Bank of America’s Michelle Meyer and Anna Zhou told clients recently. “A core view of John Murphy, our auto equity analyst, is that the auto cycle has peaked. And he expects further slowdown,” with US sales slumping to 16.3 million — lower than Nomura’s estimate. “He sees new auto sales heading lower largely due to the ‘tsunami’ of used vehicles supply which depresses the prices of used vehicles (making them more attractive than new).”
  • Their colleague Ethan S. Harris agrees. “There is a negative narrative developing in the auto sector as inventories climb amid softening demand. Inventory for light trucks and SUVs has been climbing to uncomfortably high levels.”

The most dramatic example of just how vulnerable automakers are came from Britain last week. The country prides itself on being the Detroit of Europe. But The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) reported that total car production in the UK was down 45%, year on year, in April. Commercial vehicle exports collapsed a staggering 89%.

This is a long-term trend

While car production in the UK was hit by a quirk around the shifting date of Brexit, which caused manufacturers to retool their factories early, it’s not a blip. This chart of UK car sales shows that the decline is part of a longer trend that began in 2017.

SMMT

Total car ownership is in decline. Here are the numbers for new car registrations in the UK:

Pantheon Macroeconomics

The trend is reflected Europe-wide. This data shows car registrations in the eurozone, the 19 countries that use the euro as a currency:

Pantheon Macroeconomics

Europe (with its densely populated countries and public transport options) is one thing. The US (wide-open spaces, car culture, and lack of train service) is another. But even Americans began to tone down their car purchases, sometime in 2016, as this chart from Bank of America shows:

Bank of America

The decline of cars will hurt economic growth

The decline is having an effect on employment. Honda said it would close its factory in Swindon, England, resulting in the loss of 3,500 jobs. Automakers cut 38,000 jobs globally in the past six months, according to Bloomberg. Ford cut 7,000 workers, or 10% of its force.

That, in turn, is dampening global economic growth. Fitch ratings said 0.2% has already been shaved from global GDP because of car contraction. US President Donald Trump’s proposed tariff of 5% on goods imported from Mexico will make that worse — cars are the biggest trade good in the US-Mexico relationship, according to Bloomberg.

In the US, Bank of America published a note with the headline “shifting from second gear to reverse”:

“A weakening in the auto cycle will serve as a drag to the economy. There are a few channels by which the decline in autos will impact GDP. Autos influence GDP through consumer spending and production, with inventories serving as the residual between what is produced and sold. When sales weaken, it will lead to weaker consumer spending,” analysts Meyer and Zhou wrote. “Motor vehicle production is already on course to be a drag this year, slicing 0.14pp [percentage points] from 1Q GDP growth. We expect it to cut nearly 0.2pp to annual growth this year. Relative to last year, that is a reversal of 0.4pp.”

The decline won’t be total. Cars won’t go the way of the horse and cart. More likely the aftermath of “peak car” will look like the television business — a long, slow decline that takes years to play out.

“It doesn’t feel great but it is manageable,” Bank of America’s team wrote.

Moody’s is sounding the alarm on risky car loans

Carpocalypse now: Lyft’s founders are right — we’re in the endgame for cars

The failing automobile industry is pushing us toward a global recession

Cars are driving us toward recession

Apps like Uber and DriveNow may be hurting the demand for new cars, studies suggest

The UK car business has ‘exactly the same problems’ as the mortgage market 10 years ago, according to Morgan Stanley

British people have suddenly stopped buying cars

More:

Cars
recession watch

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World Cup: South Africa v Bangladesh – in-play clips, radio & text

Mushfiqur Rahim

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Summary

  1. South Africa win toss and bowl
  2. Injured Steyn still missing for SA
  3. Bangladesh opener Tamim passed fit
  4. Play starts at 10:30 BST, The Oval
  5. SA lost to England in opener
  6. Bangladesh’s first game in competition

Live Reporting

By Jack Skelton

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  • Send a text to 81111 (charged at your standard message rate)
  • Twitter: Use the hashtag #bbccricket
  • Facebook: BBC Sport
  1. Post update

  2. Get Involved

    #bbccricket, text 81111 (UK only), email tms@bbc.co.uk

    Cutting short your Sunday lie-in to follow this one? Get involved.

    All views, predictions and random musings welcome.

    Tweet us using #bbccricket, text us on 81111 or email tms@bbc.co.uk.

  3. Listen to ball-by-ball commentary on Test Match Special

  4. Full teams

    Hashim Amla is ruled out for South Africa with concussion after he was hit by Jofra Archer in the World Cup opener. David Miller comes in for him, while all-rounder Chris Morris replaces Dwaine Pretorius. Dale Steyn is still out with a shoulder injury.

    South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wkt), Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (capt), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, JP Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.

    Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wkt), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehedi Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Mustafizur Rahman.

    Umpires: Joel Wilson, Paul Reiffel.

    TV umpire: Kumar Dharmasena; match referee: David Boon.

  5. ‘We have to play hard’

    Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza: “We are very much confident. We have to play well and play hard.”

  6. ‘You have to remain calm’

    South Africa captain Faf du Plessis: “We’re playing an extra seamer today for extra pace so as normal it’s about making the most of the first 15 overs and causing Bangladesh some problems.

    “We’ve got to learn from the previous game. We did well to restrict England to just over 300 and we were only one partnership away from really troubling England.

    “You have to remind yourself to stay calm. Obviously you want to win your first game but it’s a long tournament and we’ve got to remind ourselves that we played the favourites.”

  7. BreakingSouth Africa win the toss and bowl

    Faf du Plessis wants to attack Bangladesh early on with his pace bowlers.

  8. Post update

    Captains Faf du Plessis and Mashrafe Mortaza are out in the middle.

    Here comes the coin toss…

  9. What happened yesterday?

    Afghanistan looked like they would get skittled for not much over 100 after falling for 77-5 against Australia before some late-order hitting took them to 207 all out.

    The Aussies made fairly easy work of the reply, winning by seven wickets as Aaron Finch hit 66 and David Warner struck an unbeaten 89.

    And yes Warner and Steve Smith were booed.

    Video content

    Video caption: ‘Worst possible start for Afghanistan’ – Starc bowls Shahzad

    Video content

    Video caption: Najibullah Zadran hits a big six for Afghanistan

    Video content

    Video caption: David Warner hits a boundary to bring up his half-century

    Video content

    Video caption: Glenn Maxwell hits a boundary to help Australia win their first match of the World Cup
  10. What happened yesterday?

    New Zealand absolutely thrashed Sri Lanka by 10 wickets to get their World Cup campaign up and running.

    Sri Lanka were bundled out for 136, with pace bowlers Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson taking three wickets each.

    Black Caps openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill then chased down the target in just 16.1 overs. Ouch.

    Video content

    Video caption: Matt Henry picks up two wickets in two balls for New Zealand

    Video content

    Video caption: Sri Lanka’s batting collapses as they lose five wickets for just 14 runs

    Video content

    Video caption: Martin Guptill brings up his half-century with a maximum

    Video content

    Video caption: Martin Guptill smashes a six out of the ground
  11. Welcome

    Morning. Welcome to live coverage of South Africa against Bangladesh at The Oval.

    The Proteas were beaten by England in the World Cup opener on Wednesday.

    Bangladesh get their campaign under way today.

    Toss and team news to follow.

  12. Post update

    104 runs, seven wickets, 10 wickets, seven wickets.

    We’ve not exactly had a close game yet in this World Cup. England’s opening win over South Africa being the best so far.

    Will South Africa and Bangladesh serve up a nail-biter today?

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Chinese defence minister defends bloody crackdown on 1989 Tiananmen protesters

news image

Updated

June 02, 2019 17:47:18

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe says the state’s bloody crackdown on protesters around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 30 years ago was the “correct policy” decision, citing the country’s “stability” since then.

Key points:

  • June 4 marks 30 years since Beijing set soldiers on pro-democracy protesters
  • Defence Minister Wei Fenghe made the rare comments at an Asian defence dialogue
  • He added that attempts to disrupt unification with Taiwan would be fought with force

Mr Wei made the comments at Singapore’s Shangri La Dialogue — an annual Asian security defence summit — after a belligerent speech about Chinese sovereignty and international security.

He called the protests political “turbulence”.

It is rare for Chinese government officials to acknowledge the events of June 4, 1989: official censors wipe references to the massacre routinely.

“Everybody is concerned about Tiananmen after 30 years,” the general said.

“Throughout the 30 years, China under the Communist Party has undergone many changes — do you think the government was wrong with the handling of June Fourth?

“There was a conclusion to that incident. The government was decisive in stopping the turbulence.”

He added that China’s development since 1989 showed that the government’s actions were justified.

The Tiananmen protests were “political turmoil that the central government needed to quell, which was the correct policy,” he said.

“Due to this, China has enjoyed stability, and if you visit China you can understand that part of history.”

Tuesday will be the 30th anniversary of the protests, where Chinese troops opened fire to end the student-led unrest, which Beijing said resulted in 241 deaths.

Dan Wang, a prominent Tiananmen student leader who spent much of the 1990s in jail for his activism, told the ABC that he thought the Red Cross Society figures of more than 2,000 dead and 10,000 injured were more accurate.

Mr Wei’s comments echoed those of Defence Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian, who last week attacked the use of the word “suppression” to describe the military’s response to the 1989 protests.

China at the time blamed the protests on counter-revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the party.

The event will not be officially commemorated by the ruling Communist Party or government, which has to manage a number of sensitive political anniversaries.

Beijing to ‘fight to the end’ for Taiwanese reunification

Prior to his Tiananmen remarks, Mr Wei made a speech where he noted that China would be willing to fight any party that sought to interfere in its “reunification” with Taiwan.

Beijing has consistently claimed sovereignty over the island, which considers it a rogue breakaway territory.

Taiwan has historically resisted attempts from the mainland to impose its rule and it still officially refers to itself as the Republic of China, though it has a dwindling list of states that recognise its independence.

In recent years, China has made businesses, including Qantas, list Taiwan as part of Chinese territory.

Until 1971, Taiwan officially represented China at the United Nations until a resolution transferred recognition to the mainland People’s Republic of China (PRC).

In recent years, Beijing has been incensed by US President Donald Trump’s administration to increase support for self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, including US Navy sending warships through the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from mainland China.

“No attempts to split China will succeed. Any interference in the Taiwan question is doomed to failure [sic],” Mr Wei said.

“If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs … The US is indivisible, and so is China. China must be, and will be, reunified.”

He added that China would not “attack unless we are attacked”, who noted a hot military conflict’s grave consequences for global security.

US to no longer ‘tiptoe’ around China

On Saturday, acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the Shangri-La meeting that Washington would no longer “tiptoe” around Chinese behaviour in Asia.

China-US ties have become increasingly strained due to a bitter trade war, US support for Taiwan and China’s muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where American forces also conduct freedom-of-navigation patrols.

Last month, Taiwan’s national security chief David Lee met White House national security adviser John Bolton, marking the first meeting in more than four decades between senior US and Taiwanese security officials.

Taiwan is gearing up for presidential elections in January, and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly accused Beijing of seeking to undermine Taiwan’s democracy and has vowed to defend the island and its freedoms.

ABC/Reuters

Topics:

unrest-conflict-and-war,

world-politics,

defence-forces,

states-and-territories,

territorial-disputes,

human,

history,

china,

taiwan

First posted

June 02, 2019 17:45:52

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Israel attacks Syrian targets near occupied Golan Heights

Israel has acknowledged carrying out dozens of airstrikes in Syria on Iranian targets and Tehran's allies [File: Omar Sanadiki/Reuters]
Israel has acknowledged carrying out dozens of airstrikes in Syria on Iranian targets and Tehran’s allies [File: Omar Sanadiki/Reuters]

Israel attacked Syrian military positions in the country’s south early on Sunday, killing three soldiers and wounding seven others, Syria’s state-run media reported.

The Israeli military confirmed the attack in a series of tweets saying it was in response to two rockets fired from Syria at Mount Hermon late on Saturday. One of the rockets landed in Israel, no damage or injuries were reported. 

State news agency SANA quoted an unnamed military official as saying the Israeli attacks struck military positions in the southern region of Quneitra, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. They also caused material damage, it said.

The Israeli military said the targets included two artillery batteries, several observation and intelligence posts and an SA2 air defence unit.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition’s war monitor, said Israeli warplanes struck positions and an arms depot of Iranian troops and Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese armed and political group that, along with Iran, supports Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel has acknowledged carrying out dozens of airstrikes in Syria on Iranian targets and Tehran’s allies.

Last week, Israeli aircraft hit a Syrian military post after the army said an anti-aircraft missile was fired at one of its fighter jets. Syrian media said a soldier was killed in that attack.

Israel says it is determined to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s eight-year war which has killed more than 370,000 people.

This second exchange between Syria and Israel in a week comes amid heightened tensions over Iran, after US President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme. 

In recent weeks the US and some of its Gulf allies have accused Iran of aggression including attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. 

Tehran has strongly denied involvement in the incidents. 

SOURCE:
News agencies

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