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BREAKING NEWS

Syria says repels Israeli air attack, Israel says downs Golan rocket

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BEIRUT/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Syrian military air defences thwarted an Israeli attack on Sunday, shooting down seven missiles targeting an airport in southeastern Damascus, Russia's National Defence Control Centre was cited by RIA news agency as saying.

The attack, launched by four Israeli F-16 jets, did not damage the airport and there were no casualties, the control centre was cited as saying.

Syrian state media also reported the attack.

"Our air defence systems thwarted ... an Israeli air aggression ... and prevented it from achieving any of its goals," a military source told state news agency SANA. It gave no further details.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment.

The Israeli military later said its Iron Dome interceptor system shot down a rocket fired at the northern part of the occupied Golan Heights on the Syria frontier.

The military's statement did not immediately specify where the rocket was launched from. The northern Golan is also close to Lebanese territory.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged an Israeli attack last week on what he called an Iranian arms cache in Syria, where Tehran provides Damascus with vital support.

He told his cabinet Israel had carried out "hundreds" of attacks over the past years of Syria's war to curtail Iran and its ally Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Usually silent about its attacks on Iranian targets near its frontier, Israel has lifted the veil this month, a sign of confidence in a campaign waged amid occasional tensions with Syria's big-power backer Russia.

(Reporting by Ellen Francis in Beirut, Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Polina Ivanova in Moscow; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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