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Explosions rock Syria in alleged Israeli airstrikes on Hezbollah arms depots

Damascus claims most missiles shot down by air defense systems in attack on sites near capital and city of Homs, days after twin strikes near Golan; loud blasts heard in videos

Syrian air defenses were activated against Israeli missile attacks on sites near Damascus and Homs, Syrian state media reported late Thursday, citing a military source.

Loud explosions shook the Syrian capital during the reported air strikes, two days after the Israeli military reportedly conducted twin missile strikes on a Syrian army base and an outpost controlled by the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

A military source told Syria’s official SANA news agency that most missiles fired by Israel had been intercepted by its air defense systems. The source said the missiles had come from the direction of Beirut in neighboring Lebanon just after 11 p.m.

There were no immediate reports of any casualties.

“The results of the aggression are being looked into,” the source told SANA.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which general refrains from confirming individual strikes in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor linked to the Syrian opposition, claimed the strikes had targeted weapons depots and military sites belonging to Hezbollah.

Damascus has been accused in the past of inflating the success of its air defense systems, while the Observatory has been accused of inflating the damage caused by alleged Israeli attacks.

Damascus residents reported hearing at least five loud explosions that shook apartment buildings over a 15 minute time span. The missiles appeared to have been fired from over Lebanon, jolting residents who heard them streak across the sky before striking targets in Syria.

Blasts could be heard in videos distributed by SANA, which showed what appeared to be missiles streaking across the sky.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked targets in Syria over the years and against Syrian military installations in cases where they were being used to attack Israel or Israeli forces.

Israel fears Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah.

Leaflets dropped on southern Syria early Wednesday, apparently by the Israel Defense Forces, warned Syrian soldiers against cooperating with Hezbollah, hours after twin missile attacks on military positions near the Golan Heights.

According to a pro-opposition Syrian source in the Golan Heights, the office of the 90th Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Hussein Hamoush, near the city of Khader, was one of the targets of the Tuesday night strike, which Syria blamed on Israel. The second target was said to be a Hezbollah outpost in the area.

“Be careful with your actions, you are being watched through a microscope. Hasham’s help has brought you destruction and his bad intentions are coming out. You are responsible for your actions, and Hezbollah is responsible for your suffering,” it said.

Judah Ari Gross and Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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