Damascus, May 13 (AP) Israeli missiles targeted central Syria on Friday, killing five people, including a civilian, and ignited fires in farmlands in the area, Syrian state media reported.

The official news agency SANA said the missiles were fired at the town of Masyaf in the Hama countryside, adding that several of them were shot down by Syrian air defenses. An unnamed military official was quoted as saying that five people were killed, including a civilian, and seven were wounded.

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The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syria war monitor, said Israeli aircraft fired at least eight missiles that struck weapons depots and sites belonging to Iranian militias in the Masyaf area, which led to several fires. Ambulances were seen rushing to the area, it added.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the attack, which the Observatory said was the 12th Israeli attack on Syrian territory since the beginning of the year. The Observatory has a network of activists on the ground in Syria.

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Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. It says it targets bases of Iran-allied militias, such as Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group that has fighters deployed in Syria and fighting on the side of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government forces, and arms shipments believed to be bound for the militias. (AP)

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