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Syria says Israeli air strikes target south of country, soldier killed

State-run media claims most missiles shot down during overnight attack, but admits one fatality and material damage to unspecified sites

Illustrative: This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows anti-aircraft fire in the sky after US-led airstrikes targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons early Saturday, April 14, 2018. Syrian air defenses responded to the joint strikes by the United States, France and Britain. (SANA via AP)
Illustrative: This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows anti-aircraft fire in the sky after US-led airstrikes targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons early Saturday, April 14, 2018. Syrian air defenses responded to the joint strikes by the United States, France and Britain. (SANA via AP)

Israeli missiles struck areas in southern Syria, killing one regime soldier and causing some damage, Syrian state news claimed early Thursday.

A Syrian military official said the airstrikes took place just before 1 a.m., with the missiles coming from the Golan Heights, striking areas in the south of the country, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency reported. It did not specify what was targeted.

Citing a military official, the outlet said that one soldier was killed and that the strikes caused material damage. The official added that most of the incoming missiles were intercepted by Syrian air defenses, an oft-heard claim that most Syrian war analysts regard as a false, empty boast.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which does not discuss individual air strikes in Syria as a matter of policy.

Asked about the strike in a radio interview with the Kan broadcaster, Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin refused to comment on the specific strike, but reiterated Israel’s policy of blocking Iranian entrenchment, weapons transfers and the establishment of a front against Israel on the Golan Heights.

Unverified reports on social media claimed the attacks took place near the Damascus airport, a common target for alleged Israeli strikes seeking to thwart Iranian weapons shipments.

The alleged bombing was the first since a highly unusual strike on the port in Latakia last week, in which Israel was believed to have targeted a shipment of advanced Iranian weapons.

Following that strike, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told a press conference that “we’re pushing back on the bad forces of this region day and night… We won’t stop for one second. This happens almost daily.”

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. Many of the strikes in the past had targeted the main airport in the capital Damascus, through which Iran is also believed to transfer advanced arms to its proxies.

The strikes came days after The Washington Post reported that Israel bombed Syrian facilities twice since March 2020 to stop it from stockpiling chemical weapons.

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