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Israeli jets 'bomb targets near Damascus, southern Syria'

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighbouring Syria. [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 November, 2018

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It is the first reported Israeli attack on Syria since the regime downing of a Russian jet in September during Israeli airstrikes.

Israeli jets on Thursday bombed several areas near the Syrian capital Damascus as well as in the country's south, in its first reported strikes in the country since September.

"Israeli forces bombarded for an hour positions in the southern and southwestern suburbs of Damascus as well as in the south of Syria at the border of Quneitra province," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

Earlier, Syrian state media reported that a number of “hostile targets" close to the capital Damascus were downed by air defences.

"Our air defences fired on hostile targets over the Kisweh area and downed them," the official SANA news agency reported, citing a military source. 

Israel's army denied media reports that it had lost a jet to ground fire during a raid in Syria.

"It's bogus," an Israeli military spokesman told Reuters in reference to a Russian RIA news agency report that made the claim.

The area south of Damascus has been targeted by alleged Israeli strikes in the past, which a monitor said have killed members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards force and other pro-Iranian Shia militias. As a matter of policy, Israel does not confirm nor deny such attacks except when forced to.

Head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman said there are "weapons depots belonging to the Lebanese Hizballah (group) as well as Iranian forces" in Kisweh.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighbouring Syria against what it says are Iranian targets.

Syrian air defences in September opened fire to intercept alleged Israeli missiles targeting ammunition depots in the north-western province of Latakia, but instead downed a Russian jet.

Abdel Rahman said Thursday was the first time Syria's air defences had been called into action since the incident on September 17 in which 15 Russians were killed. 

Moscow pinned responsibility for the downing of its jet on Israel, saying its plane used the larger Russian one for cover, an allegation Israel disputed.

Following the incident, Russia sent advanced air defence missiles to Damascus.

Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Russia his country would continue to hit hostile targets in Syria to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence across the border.

He added that Israel would "continue security coordination" with Russia.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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