Five wounded in Israeli strikes targeting sites near Damascus: monitor

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Israeli air strikes hit the Damascus region overnight Sunday, the Syrian defense ministry said, with a war monitor reporting five wounded in attacks on air defense sites that host Hezbollah fighters.

“At around 11:45 p.m. (2045 GMT), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial attack,” the defense ministry said.

It targeted “certain positions in the vicinity of Damascus,” but anti-aircraft defenses came into action and brought down several missiles, according to the ministry.

It reported material damage but no casualties.

An AFP reporter in the Syrian capital heard explosions shortly before midnight local time (2100 GMT).

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government air defense sites near Damascus where fighters from the Iran-backed Hezbollah group are present were targeted.

One site north of the capital was around 10 kilometers (six miles) from the Lebanese border, it said, reporting five wounded.

Another site between the airport and the Sayyida Zeinab area southeast of the capital where Iran-backed forces are present was also targeted, added the Britain-based war-monitor, which has a vast network of sources on the ground in Syria.

In late March, Israel carried out two rounds of air strikes near Damascus in less than 24 hours.

In early April, further strikes targeted points in the country’s south and in the vicinity of Damascus, state media and the Observatory reported.

Israeli air strikes on Syria’s Aleppo airport area in the country’s north early this month left nine dead, the Observatory said, citing a revised toll for that incident which put the facility out of service.

Since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against regime positions as well as Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces, allies of Damascus and arch-foes of Israel.

Israel rarely comments on the strikes on a case-by-case basis, but says it seeks to prevent Iran from establishing a foothold on its doorstep.

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