Five killed in Israeli air strikes on Syria’s capital, Damascus

At least five people have been killed and 15 wounded in Israeli air strikes on Syria’s capital that have heavily damaged residential buildings.

The raids early on Sunday hit a building in central Damascus’s Kafr Sousa neighbourhood near a large, heavily guarded security complex close to Iranian installations, witnesses said.

The attack was a rare one on a residential area in the heart of the city. It hit a densely populated district close to Omayyad Square.

Explosions were heard around 12:30am (21:30 GMT on Saturday), and the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that air defences confronted “hostile targets in the sky around Damascus”.

Citing a military source, SANA reported five people had been killed, including a soldier, and “a number of residential buildings” had been destroyed.

“It caused damage to several civilian homes and material damage to a number of neighbourhoods in Damascus and its vicinity,” the army said in a statement.

Footage posted on state media showed a badly damaged 10-storey building, the structure crushed to its lower floors.

Unnamed Syrian military sources who were not authorised to speak publicly said stray anti-aircraft rockets fired from Mount Qasioun to counter the Israeli attack hit several other locations, including near the capital’s historic citadel.

“The strike on Sunday is the deadliest Israeli attack in the Syrian capital,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom-based group that has a wide network of sources inside Syria.

Israel did not comment on the air strikes, which were carried out a month after an Israeli missile attack hit Damascus International Airport, killing four people, including two soldiers.

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