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Israel missile strikes near Syria capital and Homs kill 4 civilians

Four civilians, including a toddler, were killed and 21 injured in Israeli missile strikes near Damascus late Sunday, June 30, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported.

An AFP correspondent in Damascus reported hearing loud explosions during the night.

The Syrian news agency said the missiles struck near Damascus and in Homs province.

“Our air defenses confronted enemy missiles launched by Israeli warplanes … towards some of our positions in Homs and in the vicinity of Damascus,” SANA said, quoting a Syrian military source.

No details were given on the positions.

Update: One of the missiles fired by the Syrian air defense system likely crashed in Cyprus, according to a Facebook post from Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay.

“The first assessment is that a Russian-made missile … which was part of the air defense system that took place last night in the face of an air strike against Syria, completed its range and fell into our country after it missed,” Reuters reported Ozersay as saying on Monday.

The missile fell around 1 a.m. local time (2200 GMT) near Tashkent (also called Vouno), about 20 km northeast of the capital Nicosia. No one was reported injured.

An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, targeting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and the regime’s allies Iran and Hezbollah. Israel rarely confirms the strikes.

On June 11, SANA said that Syrian air defenses shot down “a number of “Israeli missiles near the Golan Heights in the south of Syria. Earlier in the month, Israel struck multiple positions held by regime forces over a period of 24 hours.

In January it launched strikes on Iranian positions in Syria in what it said was a response to an Iranian missile strike from inside the country.

That attack killed 21 people, mostly Iranians.

Israel says it is determined to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs Assad in the country’s eight-year war, which has left more than 370,000 people dead and displaced millions.

With reporting from AFP

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