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Syria accuses Israel of targeting areas near historic Palmyra

Syrian air defenses opened fire and shot down several missiles launched by Israeli warplanes Monday night near the central historic town of Palmyra, state media claimed Monday night.

The Israeli military did not comment on the report. Syrian state TV gave no further details about the alleged attacks, the latest to hit central Syria in three weeks.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the Israeli strikes targeted Iranian and Iran-backed fighters in the desert near Palmyra. It had no immediate word on casualties adding that Israeli warplanes were flying over neighboring Lebanon.

Iran is a strong backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to fight along with his troops in Syria’s nine-year conflict.

The strikes came hours after Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif was in Damascus where he met with Assad and his Syrian counterpart.

Israel has in the past used Lebanon’s airspace to launch attacks on Syria and Israeli drones and warplanes were flying over Lebanon earlier Monday. There was no immediate comment from Israel.

Last month, Israeli warplanes fired missiles on the Shayrat airbase also in the central province of Homs.

In recent years, Israel has repeatedly carried out airstrikes in Syria against targets belonging to Iran and its regional proxies.

Last week, an Israeli drone fired two missiles at and near an SUV carrying members of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group in Syria close to the border with Lebanon. No one was hurt in the attack.

Israel on Saturday accused Hezbollah of “provocative” activity along the Lebanese-Israeli frontier and said it would complain to the UN Security Council.

Original: Israel Hayom – Daniel Siryoti , Dean Shmuel Elmas , News Agencies