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Israeli air strikes hit near Damascus: Syrian defence ministry

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Israel carried out air strikes near Damascus on Saturday, the Syrian defence ministry said, with an AFP journalist in the Syrian capital reporting the loud sound of bombings.

“At approximately 1:35 a.m. (1035 GMT) today, the Israeli enemy carried out an air assault from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting some points near the city of Damascus,” the defence ministry said in a statement, reporting no casualties.

Syria state television had earlier reported an “Israeli aggression near the capital”.

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Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its northern neighbour since Syria’s civil war began in 2011, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, as well as Syrian army positions.

But it has intensified attacks since its war with Hamas, a Hezbollah ally, began in October.

The Israeli army did not comment when asked by AFP about the latest strikes.

Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, told AFP that Israel struck “Hezbollah targets” in the Sayyida Zeinab area south of Damascus.

Ambulances had rushed to the scene of the bombing, said the chief of the British-based monitor, which runs a network inside Syria.

Israeli air strikes on November 26 rendered Damascus airport inoperable just hours after flights resumed following a similar attack the month before.

Damascus and Aleppo airports were both put out of service following Israeli strikes on October 12 and 22.

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes targeting Syria, but it has repeatedly said it will not allow arch-foe Iran, which backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to expand its presence there.


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