Israeli strikes hit suburbs of Syrian capital for 2nd day

BEIRUT (AP) — Israel staged airstrikes on suburbs of the Syrian capital of Damascus early Friday for the second day in a row, the state news agency reported. It gave no word on any casualties.

Loud explosions were heard over the Syrian capital shortly after midnight Thursday, according to residents in the capital and the state news agency SANA. The airstrikes came after similar attacks early Thursday.

The agency said Syrian air defenses were “confronting hostile targets.” SANA said some of Israeli missiles were shot down by the air defenses.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strikes targeted an arms depots for government forces and Iran-backed groups just south of Damascus.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, including attacks on the Damascus and Aleppo airports, but it rarely acknowledges specific operations.

Israel says it targets bases of Iran-allied militant groups, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

An Israeli airstrike last week targeting the airport at the northern city of Aleppo put it out of commission for two days.

Along with airports, Israel has also struck at seaports in government-held areas in an apparent attempt to prevent Iranian arms shipments to militant groups backed by Tehran, including Hezbollah.