Israel Reportedly Strikes Near Damascus; Syrian Missile Remnants Found in Tel Aviv

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Missiles flying into the sky in Damascus during an alleged Israeli strike, January 2019.
Missiles flying into the sky in Damascus during an alleged Israeli strike, January 2019.Credit: SANA via AP

Israel fired missiles over Damascus, activating Syrian air defenses, the Syrian state news agency said early on Friday.  

"The Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression from the direction southeast of Beirut, targeting some points in the vicinity of the city of Damascus," a Syrian military source said in a statement published on state television.

At the same time, Israeli air defenses identified overnight into Friday a surface-to-air missile that was launched from Syria. The Syrian missile exploded over the sea and no damage was reported. The army said no sirens were sounded as there was no danger that the missile would land in a populated area.

The IDF later confirmed that shrapnel from the Syrian missile was later found in south Tel Aviv on Friday morning. Police sappers and army forces are handling the missile remnants.   

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Shrapnel from the Syrian missile in Tel Aviv

Syrian TV showed scenes of air defenses confronting the targets over Damascus."Our air defenses confronted the aggressor's missiles and shot down most of them, and the losses were limited to material," the statement said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Israel attacked military compounds near the Syrian capital that are used by pro-Iranian militias to manufacture weapons.  

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside Syria in the course of the country’s civil war, targeting what it says are suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces. It rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Most recently, two weeks ago Russia's military said Syria had shot down 22 missiles launched by Israeli warplanes at targets in Syria. A few days prior to that, Syrian media reported that Israel had struck targets near the border province of Quneitra. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the missiles struck areas where Iran-backed fighters are based.

In July, Syria accused Israel of conducting airstrikes twice within one week, including one on a weapons depot belonging to an Iran-backed militia outside Aleppo that killed five people employed by Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

In June, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said eight people had been killed in an alleged Israeli missile strike over Damascus. 

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