In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, April 7, 2017. The United States blasted a Syrian air base with a barrage of cruise missiles in fiery retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via AP)

The Latest: Saudi Arabia praises US attack on Syria

April 07, 2017 - 1:29 am

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on events in Syria (all times local):

8:25 a.m.

Saudi Arabia is praising the "courageous decision" by U.S. President Donald Trump to launch missile strikes on Syria over a deadly chemical weapons attack.

A statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Friday firmly blames the government of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad for the chemical weapons attack.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said the missile launch by Trump was the right response to "the crimes of this regime to its people in light of the failure of the international community to stop it."

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia is a longtime opponent of Assad and has supported the rebels fighting against him. It also views the long-running war as a proxy conflict between it and its Middle East archrival, the Shiite power Iran.

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8:20 a.m.

A senior Russian lawmaker says that U.S. strike on Syria likely has put an end to hopes for Russia-U.S. cooperation in Syria.

Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the Kremlin-controlled upper house of parliament said on his Facebook that the prospective U.S.-Russian anti-terror coalition has been "put to rest without even being born."

Kosachev added that "it's a pity," suggesting that Trump had been pressured to act by the Pentagon.

He added that while "Russian cruise missiles strike the terrorists, U.S. missiles strike Syrian government forces who are spearheading the fight against the terrorists."

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8:10 a.m.

A Syrian opposition monitor says the U.S. missile attack on an air base in the country's center has killed at least four Syrian soldiers, including a general, and caused extensive damage.

The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the early Friday missile attack damaged over a dozen hangars, a fuel depot and an air defense base.

About 60 U.S. Tomahawk missiles hit the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs, a small installation with two runways. A Syrian official the attack caused deaths and a fire, but didn't elaborate.

The U.S. attack came in fiery retaliation to Tuesday's deadly chemical attack that officials said used chlorine mixed with a nerve agent, possibly sarin. More than 80 were killed in that attack that drew wide international condemnation.

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8 a.m.

Israel's ambassador to the U.N. says the U.S. sent a "significant message" to the region and beyond with the attack on a Syrian air base.

Danny Danon told Channel 10 TV "it was a moral decision that delivered a triple message." He said it told the Syrians to stop using chemical weapons and sent a message to Iran and North Korea. He said it also told the international community that "if the U.N. is incapable of acting in these situations it will lead."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier "this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime's horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere."

Israel's military says it was notified ahead of the strike.

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7:55 a.m.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the "Australian government strongly supports the swift and just response of the United States" in launching a rocket attack on a Syrian air base.

He tells reporters in Sydney on Friday: "This was a calibrated, proportionate and targeted response. It sends a strong message to the Assad regime, and ... has been struck at the very airfield from which the chemical attack was delivered."

"But we are not at war with the Assad regime and the United States have made it clear that they are not seeking to overthrow the Assad regime," he added.

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7:45 a.m.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says it is preparing a statement regarding U.S. strikes on a Syrian base.

Shortly before the strikes, the head of information policy commission in the upper house of Russian parliament, Alexei Pushkov, said on Twitter said that if Trump launches a military action in Syria it would put him in "the same league with Bush and Obama."

Russian deputy envoy to the U.N., Vladimir Safronkov, said Russia had warned the U.S. to "think about what military actions have led to in Iraq, Libya and other countries," according to the Interfax news agency.

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7:30 a.m.

A Syrian official tells The Associated Press that the U.S. missile attack that hit a number of military targets in central Syria has left a number of dead and wounded.

Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs province, didn't say how many were killed in the early Friday attack. He said a fire raged in the air base in Homs for over an hour following the barrage of missiles.

Barazi says the evacuation and transfer of casualties is ongoing. He called the air base, which is about 45 kilometers (28 miles) east of the city of Homs, a "supporting base" for Syria's fight against terrorism.

Islamic State group militants operate in the central Homs province. Activists and rebels say the base serves as one of the government's most active launching pad for airstrikes on all rebel areas in central and northern Syria. Syria's government calls all armed groups "terrorists."

The attack came in fiery retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians.

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5:50 a.m.

Israel's prime minister has welcomed the U.S. attack on a Syrian air base saying he "fully supports" President Trump's decision.

Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday in a statement that "In both word and action" Trump "sent a strong and clear message" that "the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated."

Israel's Channel 2 TV said Israel along with other allies was notified about the U.S. strike.

The attacks in neighboring Syria have worried Israel, which has warned against "game-changing" weapons reaching Hezbollah in Lebanon from the country, which supports the militant group. Last month Israel shot down an anti-aircraft missile fired at its planes as they struck a suspected Hezbollah weapons convoy.

Israel also has treated several thousand Syrians wounded in fighting and provided humanitarian aid to some Syrian communities near the Israeli frontier in the Golan Heights.

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