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Israeli missile strike kills four civilians, Syrian state media says

Activist group says strikes targeted research centre and military airport west of Homs where Hezbollah and Iranians are deployed
Israeli F-15 fighter launches anti-missile flares last week during drill at Hatzerim base in Negev desert (AFP)

Israeli warplanes fired missiles targeting Syrian military positions in Homs and the Damascus outskirts in an attack that killed at least four civilians, including a child, and wounded another 21, Syrian state media said.

The Syrian military said Syrian air defences confronted the attack, which was launched from Lebanese airspace.

An Israeli military spokeswoman, asked about the report, told Reuters: "We don't comment on such reports."

Syrian state-run broadcaster al-Ikhbariya said the four civilians had been killed in Sahnaya, south of Damascus, as "a result of the Zionist aggression".

State news agency SANA said an additional 21 people had been wounded. SANA also reported that Syrian air defences had brought down a number of the missiles.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said the missile strikes had targeted a research centre and a military airport west of the city of Homs where the Hezbollah movement and Iranians are deployed.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the observatory chief, said the strikes wounded some of these forces.

In the Damascus area, the strikes targeted the 91st Brigade base where Iranian Revolutionary Guards are stationed and a research facility in Jamraya, the Times of Israel cited the monitor as saying.

Jamraya, just over 10 kilometres northwest of Damascus, is home to several military positions and a branch of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center.

Lebanon's Al-Masdar News website said that according to a source in Damascus, the Israeli air force hit the Mezzeh Airbase, Jamraya, Sahnaya, and Daraya.

In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria that it says have targeted its regional arch foe, Iran, and the Lebanese Hezbollah group, which it calls the biggest threat to its borders.

Iran and Hezbollah are fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war, and Israel says they are trying to turn Syria into a new front against Israel.