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Israel Hits Military Target South Of Damascus

A cloud of smoke is seen in the sky after an explosion at what Syrian state television reported was a military research center in Damascus, believed to be targeted by Israel. 05May2013

Israel has attacked a military target south of the Syrian capital, Damascus, in the early hours of Saturday, December 2, according to Syrian media.

It is not clear if the attack was carried out by surface-to-surface missiles or Israeli warplanes and there are diverging reports about the nature of the target.

Syrian state media reported that Syrian air-defenses intercepted at least two surface-to surface “missiles” fired at a military target, but the attack still “caused damage”.

The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz quoting Sky News Arabic and “other media” say it was an attack by the Israeli air force, carried out from Lebanese airspace.

They also say that the target was an sprawling Iranian base being completed south of Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, said the missiles, presumably Israeli, targeted "positions of the Syrian regime and its allies" near Kesweh or Al Kiswah southwest of Damascus.

"An arms depot was destroyed," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, adding that it was not immediately clear whether the warehouse was operated by the Syrian army, or its allies Iran or Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

BBC recently reported that Iranians were building a base near Kesweh, in a Syrian army base.

Loud explosions were reported from Damascus and the Observatory said electricity went out in some parts of the capital.

Israel has acknowledged carrying out repeated air and missile strikes in Syria since the outbreak of the bloody civil war six years ago to stop arms deliveries to Hezbollah, with which it fought a devastating 2006 conflict.

It has also systematically targeted government positions in response to all fire into territory under its control, whoever launched it and regardless of whether it was intentional or not.

Based on Reporting by AFP, Reuters, Haaretz and Jerusalem Post