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Israel reported to strike several sites across Syria

Attack, reportedly from direction of Lebanon, would be first in over a month; Syria claims some missiles shot down by air defense systems; explosions reported near Damascus, Homs

Syrian Air defenses respond to alleged Israeli missiles targeting south of the capital Damascus, on July 20, 2020. (AFP)
Syrian Air defenses respond to alleged Israeli missiles targeting south of the capital Damascus, on July 20, 2020. (AFP)

An Israeli airstrike caused damage to sites in southern and central Syria late Tuesday, Damascus said, the first attack attributed to Israel in over a month.

According to Syrian state news agency Sana, air defense systems managed to shoot down some Israeli missiles which were fired from the direction of Lebanon after 11:30 p.m.

It said some missiles were shot down and others caused damage, citing a military source.

“Our air defense array confronted the aggression’s missiles and shot down some of them, and there were material losses only,” the source was quoted saying.

The Syrian news agency did not detail what sites were struck, but said they were located in the south and center of the country.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported “violent explosions felt in Damascus and around the city, followed by Israeli strikes on military positions” of the Syrian army.

“Air strikes also took place in the south of Homs province and in the border zone between Homs and Tartus,” Observatory chief Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP.

The Israeli army, which rarely acknowledges its strikes in Syria, told AFP it would not comment on “information coming from abroad”.

Video published by Sana purported to show air defense interceptors shooting down missiles.

There was no immediate confirmation from Israel, which does not generally comment on individual airstrikes in Syria.

The IDF has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011 against moves by Iran to establish a permanent military presence in the country and efforts to transport advanced, game-changing weapons to terrorist groups in the region, principally Hezbollah.

The pace of attacks has slowed considerably in recent months, with the last reported attacks taking place May 5 and 6 on sites in Latakia and near Quneitra. One civilian was reported killed in the May 5 strike.

In late April, an errant Syria air defense missile flew into Israel and exploded over the Negev region, setting off sirens and raining shrapnel near the Dimona nuclear reactor.

AFP contributed to this report.

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