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Five Syrian soldiers among nine people killed in Israeli air strike, monitor says

Five Syrian soldiers were among nine people killed in an Israeli air strike near Damascus in the deadliest such raid this year, a war monitor said Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an ammunition depot and several positions linked to Iran's military presence in Syria were among the targets.

Earlier, a Syrian military source told Syrian state news agency SANA that four Syrian soldiers were killed and three others wounded in the Israeli strike.

"The Israeli enemy carried out an air assault at dawn ... targeting several positions around Damascus," the military source said.

"The investigation indicated that four soldiers were killed, three others injured and material damage [was] noted."

The Reuters news agency reports that SANA said the missiles were fired from the Israeli seaside city of Tiberias and most were shot down by Syrian air defenses.

Map shows Syria and neighboring nations Google Maps

An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment to Reuters about the reported strike.

AFP notes that, while Israel rarely comments on individual strikes, it has acknowledged mounting hundreds since 2011.

According to The Associated Press, Israel's military said the attack came hours after an Israeli drone crashed on the Syrian side of the border Tuesday.

The latest Israeli strike follows another near Damascus on April 14 that didn't result in any casualties, according to SANA.

Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes inside the country, targeting government positions as well as allied Iran-backed forces and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

The Israeli military has defended them as necessary to prevent its arch-foe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

The conflict in Syria started with the brutal repression of peaceful protests and escalated to pull in foreign powers and global jihadists. It has killed nearly 500,000 people.

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