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BEIRUT: Israeli strikes early Monday hit a military outpost and weapons depot operated by Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement near the Syrian capital Damascus, a war monitor reported Monday.

"Sites operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group in the east Qalamoun region, northeast of Damascus, were hit by Israeli strikes at dawn," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The war monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria, said that the attack sparked fires "in military outposts and arms depots belonging to Hezbollah".

The Observatory said there were believed to be casualties but it did not offer a toll.

Asked about Israeli strikes near Damascus, the Israeli army told AFP: "We do not comment on reports in the foreign media."

Official Syrian state media said the attack caused only material damage, without elaborating on its intended target.

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"At 3:05 am today, the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault with a volley of missiles targeting some points on the outskirts of Damascus," SANA news agency said.

"Our air defences responded to the attack and intercepted some" of the missiles, it added.

Israel rarely comments on the air strikes it carries out in Syria but has said repeatedly it will not allow its archfoe Iran to extend its footprint in Syria.

Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes on Syrian territory, targeting government positions as well as allied Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters.

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