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Israel strikes hit near Damascus: Syrian state media

Israeli air strikes struck near the Syrian capital Damascus early on Friday causing material damage, Syrian state news agency reported. Israel has targeted Syria several times in the past weeks as regional tensions simmer over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. “At around 02:25 am (0025 GMT), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights targeting several positions in the vicinity of Damascus,” state news agency SANA said, citing a military source. The source did not provide details on the targets and said that the strikes caused “material damage”, according to the report, which added that Syria’s air defence intercepted some of the Israeli missiles. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said the strikes targeted sites belonging to the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah group. Ambulances rushed to the scene, the war monitor added. Israeli strikes last month put Syria’s two main airports in Damascus and Aleppo out of service several times over two weeks. On November 8, Israeli air strikes killed three pro-Iran fighters as they hit sites belonging to the Hezbollah group near Damascus, the Observatory reported at the time. During the decade of war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its territory, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions. While Israel rarely comments on the strikes it carries out in Syria, it has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran to extend its footprint there. The Syrian war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests, escalating into a deadly armed conflict involving foreign powers and global jihadist groups. Nearly half a million people have been killed in the conflict, and around half of Syria’s pre-war population were forced from their homes.

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