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Syria says intercepted Israeli airstrikes near Damascus

Syrian air defense systems intercepted an Israeli air attack on a military position near the capital Damascus on Wednesday, the army said.

“This morning, Israeli warplanes fired several missiles from Lebanese airspace on one of our military positions in the Damascus countryside,” said an army statement carried by state media.

“Our air defence systems blocked them and destroyed most of them.”

An AFP correspondent in Damascus heard loud blasts around 3:30 a.m. (0130 GMT). The Syrian media statement said the missiles were fired at 3:42 a.m. local time.

Al Hadath reported that the strikes targeted a military scientific research center in the suburb of Jemraya.

Jamraya, which lies just over 10 kilometers (seven miles) northwest of Damascus, is home to several military positions and a branch of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center.

The U.S. has repeatedly imposed sanctions on the SSRC for its alleged role in chemical weapons production. France has also imposed sanctions on the agency.

An Israeli air strike hit the facility in May 2013 and another hit an SSRC branch in western Syria in September. Last month the Syrian army said Israel carried out air strikes and fired rockets at a military position in the Qutayfah area northeast of Damascus.

Israel has carried out dozens of air strikes on the Syrian armed forces and their allies since the civil war broke out there in 2011.

It says it is aiming to stop advanced weapons deliveries to Hezbollah, a Lebanese armed group allied to the Syrian government with which Israel fought a month-long war in 2006.

An Israeli army spokeswoman had no immediate comment. Israel rarely confirms airstrikes in Syria.

With reporting from AFP

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