Syria says Israeli airstrike near Damascus kills 3 civilians

BEIRUT (AP) — Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near Damascus early Monday, the Syrian military said, claiming the country’s air defenses shot most of them down. The strike killed three civilians and wounded four, according to state media.

The military statement, carried by state media, said the attack took place around dawn. It gave no further details about the attack or what it targeted specifically. Syrian state TV said the attacks occurred near Damascus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strikes hit targets belonging to Iran and its regional proxies, including Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah. group It had no immediate word on casualties among the fighters.

Syria’s state SANA news agency said shrapnel from the Israeli missiles hit homes in the Damascus suburbs of Hajira and Adlieh, killing three people there and wounding four.

Israel did not comment on the Syrian report. In the past, Israel has acknowledged carrying out scores of airstrikes over the years, most aimed at alleged Iranian weapons shipments believed to be bound for Hezbollah. In recent months, Israeli officials have expressed concern that Hezbollah is trying to establish production facilities to make precision guided missiles.

Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces in Syria are fighting alongside Syrian government forces. Israel has also in the past used Lebanon’s airspace to launch attacks on Syria.

Last week, an Israeli airstrike targeted Iranian and Iran-backed fighters in the desert near the historic central Syrian town of Palmyra. A Syrian opposition war monitoring group said the strike killed nine fighters, including six who were not Syrians.

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