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Syrian army says destroyed most of Israeli rockets

Israeli missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria, May 10, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

The Syrian army command says its air defense systems have managed to intercept and destroy the biggest part of a "successive wave" of Israeli rockets fired at military bases in the Arab country.

The army spokesman said in a statement on state television on Thursday that the recent Israeli strikes had demolished a radar station and a weapons depot, without elaborating on the location of the targets.

The Israeli attacks on Syria also killed three people and wounded several others, according to the statement.

It further reaffirmed "the alertness of the army and readiness to defend the sovereignty of the homeland against any aggression,” stressing that attempts to support terrorism would prove futile.

Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry said that Israel had used 28 planes in its Syria strikes and fired 70 missiles, adding that Damascus had shot down over half of the missiles.

In the early hours of Thursday, Israel attacked dozens of targets inside Syria in what was said to be the most extensive strike in the Arab country in decades. 

The Tel Aviv regime claimed that its assault was a response to a barrage of 20 rockets that were fired from Syria at Israeli military outposts in the occupied Golan Heights. It also blamed the rocket fire on Iran.

Syrians unmoved by Israeli strikes

A video released by Reuters later on Thursday showed Syrian people shopping in a Damascus neighborhood and saying that they were not afraid after the heaviest Israeli strikes on the country since the foreign-backed militancy started.

One Damascus resident said they had stood on a roof to watch Syrian air defenses shoot down Israeli missiles and celebrate "our army's achievements," while a retired army officer was quoted by Reuters as saying that Syria should always respond when attacked "no matter what it costs."

Foreign ministry: Israeli attacks mark 'new phase' in Syria crisis

Separately on Thursday, Syria's Foreign Ministry said that the latest Israeli air raids on its territory marked a "new phase" in the conflict.

An official source told Syria's SANA news agency that the aggressive approach adopted by the Zionist entity was a reaction to the defeat of anti-Damascus terrorist groups.

The Israeli regime's behavior would only increase regional tensions and endanger international peace and security, the unnamed official warned.

“The direct aggression of the Zionist entity and its supporters indicates that a new phase of the aggression against Syria has begun with the original enemies after the defeat of the agents,” the source pointed out.

Hamas: Israeli aggression proof of regime’s terrorist activities

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement also on Thursday condemned the Israeli aggression against Syria as a proof of the regime's terrorist activities.

Hamas said in a statement that it regards “the Israeli occupation’s military attack on Syria as further proof of its acts of terrorism in the region and the threat it poses for the Middle East peace and stability.”

The Gaza-based group also stressed sovereign nations' right to "defend their soil and respond to any aggression forced upon them."

It further urged Muslim and Arab countries to “unite and dedicate their efforts and capabilities to deter and defend themselves from the threats aiming to liquidate the Palestinian cause and destabilize the region.”

Russia alarmed by Syria escalation

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Thursday that Moscow was "concerned" about the recent escalation in Syria in the wake of the Israeli strikes.

"We have established contacts with all parties and we call for restraint from all parties," he said. "The current ... exchange of rocket fire is dangerous, as it distracts from the fight against Daesh terrorists, hampers the political settlement of the situation in Syria."

Over the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets in Syria in what is considered as an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces.

Israel has been providing weapons to anti-Damascus militants as well as medical treatment to the Takfiri elements wounded in Syria.

On the contrary, Iran has been offering advisory military assistance to the Syrian government fighting an all-out foreign-sponsored militancy.

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