Syrian air defence repels Israeli attack in south: State media

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Syrian air defence repels Israeli attack in south: State media

Syrian military air defences thwarted an Israeli attack on Sunday, shooting down several missiles in the south of the country, state media said.

“Our air defence systems thwarted … an Israeli air aggression … and prevented it from achieving any of its goals,” a military source told state news agency SANA. It gave no further details.

An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

Shortly after the incident, Israel’s military said its Iron Dome missile defence system shot down a rocket that had been fired at the northern part of the occupied Golan Heights on the Syria frontier on Sunday.

The military statement did not specify where the rocket had been launched from. The northern Golan is also close to Lebanese territory.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged an Israeli attack last week on what he called an Iranian arms cache in Syria, where Tehran provides Damascus with vital support.

He told his cabinet Israel had carried out “hundreds” of attacks over the past years of Syria’s war to curtail Iran and its ally Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Usually silent about its attacks on Iranian targets near its frontier, Israel has lifted the veil this month, a sign of confidence in a campaign waged amid occasional tensions with Syria’s big-power backer Russia.

Afrin bombing

Earlier on Sunday, at least three civilians were killed after a bomb exploded near a bus stop in Afrin, in Syria’s northwest. Seven others were wounded in the attack. 

The attack came on the anniversary of a Turkish military operation that evicted Kurdish fighters from the town, which is now is under the control of Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

Also Sunday, state TV reported a large explosion in a southern neighbourhood of the capital, Damascus.

It said the morning blast, which happened during rush hour on the first working day of the week, appeared to have been “a terrorist act”.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP news agency that the explosion struck near a military intelligence office in Damascus.

“The explosion took place near a security branch in the south of the city. There are some people killed and injured but we could not verify the toll immediately,” the monitor said in a statement.

It was unclear if the blast was caused by a bomb that was planted or a suicide attack, the monitor said, adding that shooting followed the explosion.

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