Syria claimed its air defenses on Saturday night shot down a number of missiles fired from Israel, for the second time in less than 24 hours.
The official SANA news agency said the military intercepted “hostile targets coming from direction of occupied territories.” Syrian state TV said the missiles were shot down over Quneitra and near Damascus.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Israel fired at least three missiles. Two of the strikes targeted a Syrian army brigade which supervises the country’s Quneitra province, he told AFP, while the third missile was destroyed by Syrian defenses.
On Friday night, Syrian state TV reported sounds of explosions near the capital, and aired footage of what it claimed were air defenses intercepting missiles fired from Israeli jets seen over Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights.
“Aerial defenses detected hostile targets coming from the direction of Quneitra and dealt with them,” the official SANA news agency quoted a military source saying, referring to a Syrian town in the Golan Heights bordering Israel.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported several explosions in the Al-Kiswah area outside the city, in the vicinity of Iranian and Hezbollah storage facilities and air defense batteries. The group added that it was not immediately clear if the explosions were caused by Israeli airstrikes or surface-to-surface missiles.
There was no response from the Israel Defense Forces, which rarely comments on reported strikes.
The Hebrew-language media reported Saturday night that Friday’s alleged strike was another episode in the confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria. Israel accuses Iran of seeking to set up a military presence in Syria that could be used to threaten the Jewish state.
In November 2017, Western intelligence officials told the BBC that Iran had established a permanent military base in el-Kiswah. Israel has reportedly hit the base several times.
The Israeli military has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in recent years on targets linked to Iran, which is backing President Bashar Assad’s regime in the Syrian civil war.