Vehicle bomb kills prominent rocket scientist in Syria

Syrian sites on the funeral of Aziz Asbar in the town of Wadi al Oyoun on Sunday

Syrian sites on the funeral of Aziz Asbar in the town of Wadi al Oyoun on Sunday

The Syrian Scientific Research Centre has always been a focus of worldwide efforts to curtail Syria's capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons.

An Israeli air strike targeted the research center July 22, Syrian state media and the Observatory reported.

According to Hadashot news, Azbar was tasked with improving the range and accuracy of the Syrian regime's Scud missiles. A faction of the main al-Qaida affiliate in Syria called Abu Amara claimed responsibility, but was working on behalf of Israel, the newspaper said. The group has previously claimed attacks targeting officials and militia commanders inside government territory. Israeli officials, past and present, had refused to comment on the accusations, although Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman has sought to downplay the possibility of Israeli involvement. Syria is thought to have acquired an arsenal of Russian and North Korean made Scuds as well as a host of locally produced rockets. This method was used to kill the former defense and operations chief of Hezbollah, Imad Mughniyeh, an attack that has been largely attributed to Israel.

A Hamas rocket scientist was shot dead by gunmen in Malaysia in April and a drone engineer was killed in Tunisia in December 2016. The Times reports that the bomb was apparently planted by Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.

Russian airline says 18 killed in Siberian helicopter crash
The Mi-8 crashed to the ground seconds after takeoff and exploded in an inferno in the Krasnoyarsk region of Russian Federation . The crew of the cargo-carrying helicopter were not injured and there was no adverse weather conditions, said Rosaviatsia.

After hundreds of people were killed in chemical attacks near Damascus in August 2013, a landmark deal with Russian Federation was struck to rid Syria of its chemical weapons stash, staving off United States airstrikes.

After the Syrian government carried out what independent inspectors said was a sarin gas attack that killed as many as 100 people in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in 2017, Washington also imposed sanctions on 271 individuals associated with the centre.

The scientific center, run by Azbar, had been the target of at least two Israeli aerial assaults over the past months. It's moving from a conflict between rebels and the government to a conflict that plays out within the region.

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