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Syria intercepts Israeli missiles over Damascus: State media

A war monitor said the strikes hit an area where Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Lebanese Hezbollah are present
Israel is thought to have carried out hundreds of air and missile strikes on Syria since civil war broke out in 2011 (AFP/File photo)

Syrian air defences intercepted Israeli missiles over Damascus on Sunday, Syrian state news agency SANA said.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Israel has routinely carried out raids in Syria, mostly targeting Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces as well as government troops.

"At 10:16 this evening (2016 GMT) the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial attack from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan on some targets in the Damascus area," SANA reported a military source as saying.

"Our air defence confronted the missiles and downed most of them," the source added.

There was no immediate report of casualties.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the strike hit the area of Sayyida Zeinab south of Damascus, where Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Lebanese Hezbollah are present.

The Israeli army said it did not comment on reports in foreign media.

Tensions in the region have spiked following recent US air strikes in Syria that it said targeted facilities used by Iranian-backed militant groups.

Meanwhile, Israeli state broadcaster Kan reported that leaders of Israel's security establishment met on Sunday evening to discuss an alleged Iranian attack on an Israeli-owned vessel in the Gulf of Oman this week.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Saturday he believed Iran was behind an explosion on Thursday on the MV Helios Ray, a vehicle carrier.

Israel rarely comments on particular strikes, but in December, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said the strikes had "slowed down Iran's entrenchment in Syria".

"We have struck over 500 targets this year, on all fronts, in addition to multiple clandestine missions," Kochavi said.

Earlier this month, Israeli missile strikes against arms depots near Syria's capital killed at least nine pro-government militia fighters, the Observatory reported.

Syrian state media reported in January that two children were among four civilians killed by Israeli strikes on the central province of Hama.