Syria: Air Defenses Respond to Israeli Strikes Near Capital

BEIRUT (AP) -- Loud explosions shook the Syrian capital late on Thursday as state media reported Israeli airstrikes around Damascus.

The state-news agency SANA said Syrian air defenses confronted the Israeli planes, while the pro-Syrian government Cham FM Radio reported airstrikes in the Damascus countryside and in the central province of Homs.

Damascus residents reported hearing at least five loud explosions that shook apartment buildings over a 15 minute time span. The missiles appeared to have been fired from over Lebanon, jolting residents who heard them streak across the sky before striking targets in Syria.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which rarely comments on its military operations in Syria. There were also no immediate reports of any casualties.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside Syria in the course of Syria's civil war, against what it says are suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces. It rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Earlier this week, Syrian state media reported that Israel carried out a missile attack on southern Syria late on Tuesday, targeting an unspecified military position.