Israel has attacked Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militias in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, casting such actions as potentially helping to stem a Syrian Sunni Muslim refugee exodus to Europe.

Israeli officials have previously disclosed scores of air strikes within Syria to prevent suspected arms transfers to Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah guerrillas or Iranian military deployments.

But they have rarely given detail on the operations, or described non-Lebanese militiamen as having been targeted.

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