Syrian Air Defence Systems Thwart Israeli Attack

Syrian Armed Forces Deployed Along Manbij Border Aleppo Province 30 December 2018

"Our air defense systems thwarted ... an Israeli air aggression ... and prevented it from achieving any of its goals", a military source told state news agency SANA.

It says the Pantsir and Buk air defense systems intercepted seven missiles, adding that no damage has been reported.

Israel has acknowledged striking thousands of targets in Syria, including Iranian military positions or weapons caches destined for the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. The premier said this move showed Israel's readiness to prevent Iran's efforts to entrench militarily in Syria.

Syrian state media broadcast footage of what it said were the air defenses firing, with bright lights seen shooting across the night sky.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP news agency that the explosion struck near a military intelligence office in Damascus. "There are some people killed and injured but we could not verify the toll immediately", the monitor said in a statement.

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Some reports said the sound of gunfire could be heard shortly after the explosion.

Earlier on Sunday, at least three civilians were killed after a bomb exploded near a bus stop in Afrin, in Syria's northwest.

Damascus has been largely spared the worst of the violence during the country's brutal almost eight-year war, but several bomb attacks have shaken the city.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said that Sunday's blast appeared to be the first attack in Damascus since a auto bomb over a year ago that caused no casualties. Most of the raids have taken place at night or before dawn, and such a strike in broad daylight would be exceedingly rare.

Turkish troops and allied rebel groups seized the Afrin region from Kurdish forces in March previous year after a two-month air and ground offensive.

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