Three dead in Israeli strikes near Syrian capital

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Israeli air strikes that targeted a building in an upscale area near the Syrian capital killed three people early Saturday, a war monitor said.

State media reported that Syrian air defenses responded to an Israeli "air attack."

Since Syria's civil war broke out in 2011, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its northern neighbor, mainly targeting Iran-backed forces, including Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

The strikes have increased since Israel's war with Hamas began on October 7.

In the latest incident three people were killed, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

He could not immediately confirm whether the dead were fighters.

Abdel Rahman added that many other people were injured in the strikes on a neighborhood hosting "villas for top military and officials."

The war monitor, which has a network of sources inside Syria, earlier reported the "Israeli attack" on "a residential building west of the Syrian capital Damascus," with the sound of "violent explosions."

State news agency SANA cited a military source saying that at around 1:05 am (2205 GMT Friday), "the Israeli enemy launched an air attack from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting a number of points in the Damascus countryside."

Air defenses responded to the missiles and "downed some of them," the statement said, adding that the attack caused "some material losses."

The strikes came hours after an area near a military airport west of Damascus came under missile attack on Friday, the Observatory said, while the defense ministry said drones had entered Syrian airspace from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Observatory did not say who was behind what it described as a "missile" attack.

"Positions belonging to Lebanon's Hezbollah and other pro-Iran groups are present" in the area, added the Observatory.

A statement from the defence ministry said that at around 2:10 pm on Friday, "two drones violated Syrian air space from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan."

"Air defense systems confronted them and they were shot down west of Damascus," the statement added, also without specifying who was behind the incident.

Contacted by AFP, the Israeli army declined to comment on "reports in the foreign media."

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