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Israel says it hit 50 targets in Syria in 2020 including govt, Iran, Hezbollah forces

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Israel's military, which rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria blamed on its forces, said Thursday it had hit about 50 targets in the neighbouring country in 2020.

The annual report released by the Israel Defence Forces did not provide details about the targets hit, but Israel is believed to have launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011.

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They have targeted government troops, allied Iranian forces and fighters from the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

The Jewish state has consistently vowed to prevent its arch-enemy Iran gaining a foothold in Syria, where Tehran has backed President Bashar al-Assad throughout the nearly decade-long war.

A military spokeswoman told AFP that figures in the report were correct as of December 20.

The latest strike in Syria blamed on Israel came Wednesday, when missile fire from the Jewish state hit a military position near Damascus, Syrian news agency SANA reported, citing a military source.

SANA said one Syrian soldier was killed and three others wounded.

Israel's military declined to comment on the incident.

Overall, Israeli warplanes flew 1,400 "operational" sorties in 2020, the report said, without elaborating.

Regarding the Palestinian conflict, the report said 176 rockets were fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip into Israel, of which 90 fell on open ground.

It said that Israeli missile defences had intercepted 80 rockets.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamists took power in Gaza in 2007.

The first came in December 2008, when Israel launched "Operation Cast Lead" to stop rocket fire into Israel.

It ended with a ceasefire in January 2009, after 1,440 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

On Tuesday, Hamas and other armed groups staged military exercises in Gaza, including firing rockets into the sea, to mark the anniversary of the start of the 2008 conflict.

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