Israel Palestine Conflict

Israel strikes neighborhood in Syrian capital Damascus, loud explosion heard

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Israel carried out strikes Wednesday near Damascus, Syrian official media said, the latest reported attack amid soaring regional tensions since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Lebanese television al-Maydeen said a big explosion was heard in the Sayeda Zainab neighborhood of the Syrian capital Damascus.

“Our air defenses responded to an Israeli aggression in the vicinity of Damascus and shot down most of the missiles,” Syrian state television said.

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An AFP correspondent in the Syrian capital heard explosions followed by the sirens of ambulances.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the Israeli strikes targeted “sites where Iran-backed groups including Lebanon’s Hezbollah are based” in two locations near Damascus.

When asked about the strikes, the Israeli army told AFP: “We do not comment on reports in the foreign media.”

Since Syria’s civil war began in 2011, Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes against its northern neighbor, primarily targeting pro-Iran forces, among them Lebanese Hamas ally Hezbollah and the Syrian army.

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The strikes have multiplied during the almost five-month war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes but has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran to expand its presence in Syria.

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