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Israeli strikes hit Iranian and Hezbollah positions near Damascus, killing 10: Report

Syria later on Sunday accuses Israel of targeting airbase in Homs province, in second attack over past 24 hours
Syrian air defences have responded to hundreds of Israeli air strikes designed to counter Iranian influence in the region (AFP)

Israeli strikes on positions in Syria killed 10 people on Sunday, including three Syrian soldiers and seven foreign fighters, according to an activist group, and they were later followed by further strikes in Homs province, state media said.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Israeli missiles fired from warplanes struck areas south and southwest of the capital Damascus where Syrian troops and supporting Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters were stationed.

Syrian state media also confirmed the strikes.

Israel "renewed its aggression by firing several missiles on the eastern countryside of Quneitra," the official SANA news agency reported. "The aggression resulted in the martyrdom of three soldiers and the injury of seven others in addition to some material losses," it added.

Citing the Observatory, meanwhile, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that seven Iranian and Hezbollah fighters had also died.

Syria later on Sunday accused Israel of also targeting an airbase in Homs province, in the second attack over the past 24 hours, state media said, as reported by AFP.

The strike on the T-4 airbase "killed one soldier, wounded two others, and damaged an arms warehouse," a military source told state news agency SANA. It said the attack also destroyed a rocket warehouse.

In addition to the Syrian army, Iranian fighters and Hezbollah paramilitary forces are also stationed at the airbase, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The attack comes hours after Israel announced that it had carried out air strikes on Syria's side of the Golan Heights in response to rare rocket fire from the neighbouring country.

The Israeli military had earlier said it had responded to two rockets fired from Syria at the part of Mount Hermon in the occupied Golan Heights.

The army said it fired on "two Syrian artillery batteries, a number of observation and intelligence posts on the Golan Heights, and an SA-2 aerial defence battery".

"During the strikes, an Israeli aerial defence system was activated due to Syrian anti-aircraft shooting. None of the rockets exploded in Israel," it added.

A statement from the military said it held the Syrian regime accountable "for every action taken against Israel".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the strikes on Syria.

"We won't tolerate fire at our territory, and respond forcefully to any aggression against us," he said.

Though not a major party in the eight-year-long war, Israel has nevertheless carried our hundreds of air strikes in Syria, mostly against Iranian and Hezbollah positions, as it attempts to prevent Iran from entrenching itself in the region.

On 27 May, Syria said Israel carried out a missile attack in Quneitra, the province which also includes the Golan Heights, most of which is occupied by Israel.

On 17 May, SANA reported that Syrian air defences intercepted and downed a number of Israeli projectiles.

The strikes came amid continued tensions between Iran and the United States, Israel's closest ally.