Syria ‘shoots down’ Israeli missiles over Damascus days after Iranian Navy ‘attack’ on a cargo ship and US airstrike on Iran-backed militias in the country

Syria ‘shoots down’ Israeli missiles over Damascus days after Iranian Navy ‘attack’ on a cargo ship and US airstrike on Iran-backed militias in the country

The Syrian government claims to have shot down Israeli missiles over the capital of Damascus (map pictured) – just days after President Biden launched his first military action targeting Iran-backed militias in the country. (MailOnline courtesy)

By RAVEN SAUNT (MAILONLINE)

UNITED Kingdom — Syrian air defenses were activated in the capital, as well as its southern suburbs, on Sunday night to repel an Israeli missile attack, according to state media.

There was no word on casualties.

State TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying that most of the Israeli missiles were shot down before reaching their targets near Damascus.

‘At 10.16 this evening the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial attack from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan on some targets in the Damascus area,’ Syrian state news agency SANA reported a military source as saying.

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

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.

An Israeli military spokesman declined comment when asked about the report.

Israeli state broadcaster Kan had 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.

In a briefing to supporters of his party on Friday, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Israel was taking action ‘almost weekly’ to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

Regional intelligence sources say Iran’s Quds Force and militias it backs whose presence has spread in Syria in recent years have a strong presence in a string of underground bases in the southern outskirts of Damascus.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

But the Jewish state’s army has said it hit about 50 targets in the war-torn country in 2020, without providing details.

It has consistently vowed to prevent its arch-enemy Iran from gaining a foothold in Syria.

Israel views Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier as a red line and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group.

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

The attack comes after the United States launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday which targeted facilities near the Iraqi border used by Iranian-backed militias in Al Bukamal.

America dropped seven 500-pound JDAMs on seven targets on a crossing used by the militia groups to move weapons across the border.

The Pentagon said the strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a US service member and other coalition troops.

The airstrike reportedly killed 22 Iran-backed fighters. (AI/MailOnline Courtesy)

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