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Israeli air strikes, rockets hit Syria, Syrian army says

The Israeli army overnight carried out air strikes and fired rockets at targets in Syria, causing damage near a “military position,” the Syrian army said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Israeli air force carried out strikes on the Qutayfah area northeast of Damascus, hitting near the military position and causing the Syrian army to retaliate and “hit one of its planes,” the army said.

Syrian opposition website Qasioun reported that the strikes were carried out from Lebanese airspace and struck a Syrian military base where scud missiles are stored.

Israel also launched land-to-land missiles into Syria from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but the Syrian army intercepted them, pro-government news website al-Mayadeen reported.

The Syrian army statement condemned “flagrant Israeli aggression,” and said threatened to retaliate. The Israeli army did not comment on the reports; Tel Aviv rarely confirms reported airstrikes in Syria.

Israel’s army has carried out several attacks on the Syrian army and its ally Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011. Israel has struck Qutayfah before, including in December 2015 when it reportedly targeted both Hezbollah and Syrian army positions and destroyed scud missiles. Last month, Israel airstrikes hit an alleged Iranian base south of Damascus located about 51 kilometers (30 miles) from the Syria-Israel border.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Syria and Israel remain technically at war, and the Jewish state fought a devastating war against Hezbollah in 2006.

With reporting from AFP

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