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Syria: Israeli missiles reportedly shot down over Homs province

A Syrian military source said that the attack had caused no casualties, inflicting only material damage
Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, Israel has routinely carried out raids in Syria (File pic/AFP)

Syria's air defences intercepted Israeli missiles over Homs province early on Thursday, the second air strike this week, Syrian state media reported.

A military source told Syrian state news agency Sana that the attack had caused no casualties, inflicting only material damage.

"At 01:13 am... the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial attack targeting several positions in the Qusayr region of Homs province," Sana reported, citing the source.

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"Our air defences intercepted the missiles... shooting most of them down," the military source said. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said the missiles had targeted military positions of the Lebanese Hezbollah group, destroying weapons depots.

The Syrian army recaptured Qusayr, a rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border, in 2013 after a blistering 17-day assault led by Hezbollah fighters. 

The city was strategically vital for the government because it links the capital Damascus to the coast.

Seizing the stronghold was considered a major victory for Hezbollah, which has fought alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces. 

Second attack

Thursday's air strikes were the second this week, after an Israeli attack on Monday killed five pro-Iran fighters allied with the government, and destroyed the group's base and a nearby weapons depot in Aleppo, according to the Observatory. 

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

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Israel rarely confirms strikes in Syria, but its army said it hit about 50 targets in the war-torn country last year, without providing details.

Israel has said it is trying to prevent its regional rival Iran from gaining a permanent military foothold on its doorstep.

Last month, suspected Israeli air strikes in central Syria killed at least 11 government troops and militiamen.

In a separate development, the Israeli military said that after a search near the Lebanese border, troops caught two "suspects" who crossed into Israel overnight. 

The military said the pair apparently had hoped to find work in Israel.