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Syria says Israeli missiles targeting Damascus intercepted

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DAMASCUS: Syrian air defences have intercepted a barrage of Israeli missiles targeting the vicinity of the capital city, state media reported.

The source was quoted as saying the interception on Monday resulted in some material damage, without elaborating on its intended target. Israel, which has carried out hundreds of attacks in war-ravaged Syria over the past decade, declined comment.

“At 3:05 am today, the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault with a volley of missiles… targeting some points on the outskirts of Damascus,” the official news agency said.

“Our air defences responded to the attack and intercepted some” of the missiles, it added.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the attacks hit military outposts and a weapons depot belonging to Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, which has sent fighters in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

“Sites operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group… in the east Qalamoun region, northeast of Damascus, were hit by Israeli strikes at dawn,” SOHR said.

The war monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria, said the attack sparked fires “in military outposts and arms depots belonging to Hezbollah”.

SOHR said there were believed to be casualties but it did not offer a toll.

Israel rarely comments on the air raids it carries out in Syria but has said repeatedly it will not allow its foe Iran and its allies to extend its footprint in Syria. Iran, along with Russia, is the main military backer of al-Assad.

Israel has targeted government positions as well as Hezbollah fighters.

Monday’s attack comes amid wider tensions in the Middle East, as world powers are engaged in negotiations with Tehran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and Yemen’s war rages on.

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