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Israel bombs Damascus, killing 7, including 4 Iranians

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Smoke billows following a reported Syrian government air strike on the town of Atareb in the rebel-held western countryside of Syria\'s Aleppo province on Thursday as regime forces push on with their offensive in the country\'s northwest.

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15th-Feb-2020       
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AFP, Beirut :
Israeli bombing of the Syrian capital Damascus overnight Thursday into Friday led to the killing of seven people, including four Iranian officers, a Syrian observatory center said.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported, quoting local sources, that the bombing killed three members of the Syrian regime, including two officers, and four Iranians.
It added that Israeli missiles targeted the Damascus International Airport area.
The group also said the attacks took place after the arrival of a cargo plane to the targeted area, adding that it is unclear "whether the plane arrived from Iran or from another area inside Syrian territory."
Syrian official news agency SANA reported late on Thursday that the army's air defenses "intercepted hostile targets in the airspace of Damascus."
Citing a military source, SANA added that "at 23.45 p.m. [2145GMT] on Thursday, the army observed hostile missiles coming from over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, and immediately the army air defenses intercepted and downed a number of them before they reach their targets."
"The hostile missiles came from over the occupied Syrian Golan," it added, referring to the Israeli warplanes.
Israeli officials, however, have yet to officially claim responsibility for the reported strike.
Since the outbreak of the Syria conflict in early 2011, Israel has occasionally struck positions inside the war-torn country.
Iranian-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah militants have been fighting alongside Syrian regime forces since 2012.
Israeli strikes on Damascus airport killed seven fighters, a war monitor said Friday, the latest in a string of attacks targeting Iran's military presence in Syria.
Syrian state media said only that its air defences intercepted missiles over the capital overnight while Israel did not immediately comment on the strikes.
Israel routinely fires missiles at what it says are Iranian targets in Syria, where elite Iranian forces and allied militia play a key role.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the strikes launched late Thursday hit military targets in the area of the international airport.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the Britain-based Observatory, said the dead were three Syrian soldiers and four members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
A Syrian army source quoted by SANA said the attack took place at 11:45 pm (2145 GMT), when an AFP correspondent in Damascus heard loud blasts.
"Our air defences intercepted hostile targets over the skies of Damascus," SANA said.
It said the "missiles were launched from over the occupied Golan Heights".
Several missiles were intercepted before they could reach their targets, said the agency, which rarely admits to casualties among army or Iranian ranks.
The Observatory said the targets in the airport area, which has been repeatedly hit in similar strikes, included an arms depot.

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