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Syrian air defenses shot down 21 of 24 Israeli missiles fired in latest raid on Damascus, Russian military says

“At about 1:30 September 3, four Israeli Air Force F-15 tactical fighters fired 24 guided missiles at targets in the Syrian Arab Republic from Lebanese airspace,” Rear Admiral Vadim Kulit, deputy head of Russia’s Reconciliation Center for Syria, said in a statement on Friday, referring to an attack on Damascus the night prior.

Unconfirmed photos circulating online purport to show shrapnel from Syrian air defense munitions found in Tel Aviv’s Kfar Shalem neighborhood. Times of Israel reporter Emanuel Fabian suggested the projectile may have exploded in mid-air.

“A surface-to-air missile was launched during the night from Syrian territory to Israeli territory. The missile exploded over the sea,” the military said, though made no mention of its overnight attack on Damascus, which itself triggered the missile launch.

This morning, residents of the center located several fragments of the missile on the ground. The fragments will be collected by the Israel Police. We thank the residents for their vigilance, and ask to avoid touching these parts.

Tel Aviv has carried out hundreds of similar strikes on Syria throughout the country’s decade-long war against jihadist rebel groups, including several in recent weeks. Israeli officials frequently cite the presence of Iranian-backed militants in Syria to justify the operations, seeing them as a threat. 

Tehran and Moscow have both supported Damascus against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists and the extremist insurgency, which continues to rage on in Idlib province, where many fighters have been permitted to flee under reconciliation deals with the Syrian government.

On Friday, the Russian Reconciliation Center noted that the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra – Syria’s main al-Qaeda affiliate – had launched some 35 attacks on Syrian forces in Idlib over the last day-and-a-half.

The group heads a jihadist umbrella organization known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and is one of the last rebel holdouts after Syrian government forces, backed by heavy Russian air support and Iranian fighters, contained the remaining insurgents to a small portion of Idlib.

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