December 25, 2018 / 8:24 PM / 5 months ago

Syria state media says Israeli planes attack targets near Damascus

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Israeli war planes attacked with missiles unspecified targets near Damascus, the Syrian capital, on Tuesday and injured three Syrian soldiers, Syrian state media quoted a military source as saying.

“Our air defenses confronted hostile missiles launched by Israeli war planes from above the Lebanese territories and downed most of them before reaching their targets,” the military source said.

An arms depot was hit and three soldiers were injured due to the attack, the source added.

The nature of the Israeli missiles targets was unclear.

Syrian state media reported earlier in the evening downing several “hostile targets” near Damascus.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports.

“An IDF aerial defense system activated in response to an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria,” the official Israeli army Twitter account later said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based war monitor, said Israeli missiles were launched from above the Lebanese territories and targeted western and southwestern Damascus rural areas.

“A number of missiles hit arms depots for Hezbollah or Iranian forces,” the observatory said. No casualties or losses were reported.

Lebanese state-run National News Agency said Israeli war planes performed mock raids above southern Lebanon.

Smoke rises past a mountain as seen from Damascus countryside, Syria December 25, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

During the more than seven-year conflict in neighboring Syria, Israel has grown deeply alarmed by the expanding clout of its arch enemy Iran - a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel’s air force has struck scores of targets it describes as Iranian deployments or arms transfers to Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement in the war.

Reporting by Hesham Hajali in Cairo, Kinda Makieh in Damascus and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Writing by Dahlia Nehme; Editing by Edmund Blair and Leslie Adler

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