Reports: Syria says Israel carried out strikes on Damascus

BEIRUT (AP) — Israel staged airstrikes on the southern suburbs of the Syrian capital of Damascus early Tuesday causing some material damage, Syrian state media reported.

Damascus residents said strong explosions were heard in the capital and its southern suburbs as Syrian state television reported that the country’s air defenses were confronting “an Israeli aggression.”

State TV, quoting an unnamed military official, did not mention any casualties, saying there was only material damage after a military post was struck south of the capital.

Israel’s shadow war with Iran in Syria intensified over the past days with four strikes on the Damascus area and the central province of Homs killing two Iranian military advisers last week.

Hours after strikes on central Syria Sunday, the Israeli military said it shot down an “aircraft” that crossed from Syria into Israel’s airspace. Israeli media said the “aircraft” was believed to be an Iran-made drone.

Syrian state TV reported that some of the Israeli missiles were shot down by the air defenses early Tuesday.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, including attacks on the Damascus and Aleppo airports, but it rarely acknowledges specific operations.

Israel says it targets bases of Iran-allied militant groups, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Along with airports, Israel has also targeted seaports in government-held areas in an apparent attempt to prevent Iranian arms shipments to militant groups backed by Tehran, including Hezbollah.

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