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Israeli strikes near Syrian capital kill three civilians: State media

Syria's military reported to have shot down a number of missiles before they reached their targets
Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in the country (File pic - AFP)

Syrian air defence intercepted several missiles fired during an "Israeli" air strike against targets near Damascus that left three civilians dead, the official Sana news agency reported.

The state media organisation did not give details of the positions targeted shortly before dawn on Monday but said Syrian air defences had downed "most" of the Israeli missiles.

"Three civilians were martyred and four others wounded, including a child, because shrapnel from Israeli missiles fell on houses" in the suburbs of Damascus, Sana said.

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The news agency described the strikes as "Israeli aggression" carried out from Lebanese airspace.

Videos published on the agency's website purported to show the Israeli warheads exploding in the sky.

An Israeli spokesperson declined to comment.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said the attack hit positions of Iranian forces and fighters from the Lebanese movement Hezbollah south of Damascus.

It said four such fighters were killed in the strikes.

Palmyra desert attack

Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in the country.

On 20 April, Sana said Syrian air defences had downed Israeli missiles near the ancient city of Palmyra.

The Observatory said the targets were "military posts for Iranian militias in the Palmyra desert". 

That raid killed three Syrian fighters and six foreigners, according to the Observatory, which was not able to determine their nationalities.

Israel rarely confirms its operations in Syria but says Iran's presence in support of President Bashar al-Assad is a threat and that it will continue its strikes, AFP reported.