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Israel bombs military research facility in Syria

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Israeli fighter jets bombed Syrian military installations near Damascus on Monday night, according to the Syrian state-run SANA news agency.

The alleged airstrike occurred in the Jamraya area, northwest of the capital, where facilities belonging to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS) are located. Intelligence agencies have long associated the research facility with the production of missiles, rockets and chemical weapons.

Syrian media and the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen television channel said that Israel fired six missiles, with three of them intercepted by Syria’s aerial defence system.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) also reported “violent explosions” shaking Damascus and its surrounding area, “including a scientific research center and warehouses where weapons and ammunition of the regime and its allies were stocked,” Rami Abdel Rahmane, director of the Britain-based monitoring group told the AFP news agency.

The same site was reportedly targeted by Israeli aircraft in late January 2013 and in May 2013 when a shipment of Iranian Fateh-110 missiles bound for Hezbollah was targeted. In September 2017, four Israeli aircraft were alleged to have taken part in a raid on CERS.

Monday’s attack was two days after Israel reportedly fired several missiles at an Iranian military base south of Damascus. Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani denied that a strike took place, and asserted that Israel was unable to hit any Iranian targets in Syria.

Satellite images published yesterday showed that seven buildings were destroyed and a further three damaged at the Iranian military base located in al-Qiswah, south of Damascus.