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Israel Strikes Syria in Response to Anti-aircraft Fire


FILE - Israeli Merkava battle tanks are stationed during a military drill in the Israel-annexed Golan Heights, Jan. 31, 2022.

The Israeli military said it attacked missile batteries in Syria on Wednesday after an anti-aircraft missile was fired toward Israel during what Syrian state television reported was an earlier strike around Damascus.

A military spokesperson declined to comment on the Syrian report of an initial Israeli attack near the Syrian capital that reportedly killed one soldier and injured five.

But the military said it carried out a counterstrike in Syria in response to the launching of the anti-aircraft missile. It said the missile triggered sirens in parts of Israel and the occupied West Bank and exploded in midair.

"Following the anti-aircraft missile launch earlier tonight, the Israel Defense Forces attacked surface-to-air missile batteries and radar that fired at Israeli air force planes," the military said on Twitter.

Syrian state TV said earlier that Syrian air defenses had downed Israeli missiles over Damascus.

Israel launched surface-to-surface missiles from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and Syrian air defenses shot down some of them, Syrian state TV said.

"Israeli aggression" also carried out an airstrike earlier on Wednesday with missiles from southeast of Lebanon's capital Beirut, state TV added.

One Syrian soldier was killed and five were wounded in the attacks, state TV reported, citing a military source.

Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it says are Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces led by Lebanon's Hezbollah have supported President Bashar al-Assad over the past decade in Syria's civil war.

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