Israeli missile strike kills soldier in Syria, Syrian state media says

CAIRO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - An Israeli air strike killed a soldier in southern Syria on Thursday, Syrian state media reported, in an attack in a frontier area where Israel has expressed concern about deployments of Iran-backed forces.

An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it has described as Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces including Lebanon's Hezbollah have deployed over the last decade to support President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's war.

Citing a military source, Syrian state news agency SANA said "the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression", firing missiles from the Golan Heights, territory Israel captured from Syria in 1967.

Syrian air defences shot down most of the rockets, SANA said. The attack led to "the martyrdom of a soldier and some material losses", it added.

Russian news agencies, citing a Russian military official, said Syrian armed forces destroyed seven of eight missiles fired by Israeli F-16 fighter jets towards targets in the region of the Damascus airport.

Rear-Admiral Vadim Kulit was quoted as saying that a warehouse was damaged and one man was killed by the air strike in the early hours of Thursday.

He said four F-16 Israeli fighter jets launched the cruise missile strike from the Golan Heights.

In 2019, then-U.S. President Donald Trump broke with other world powers by recognising Israel as sovereign on the Golan Heights, which it annexed in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally.

Reporting by Enas Alashray in Cairo and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Himani Sarkar, John Stonestreet and Jonathan Oatis

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