Israel fired several missiles towards Syrian military positions near Damascus, causing material damage, Syria’s military has said.

State media quoted an unnamed military official on Friday as saying that the attack took place shortly before midnight on Thursday, adding that some of the Israeli missiles were shot down by Syrian air defences.

The United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the missiles hit positions of Iran-backed fighters southwest of the capital, near the suburb of Qatana.

There was no comment from the Israeli military.

Israel has staged hundreds of attacks on targets in Syria over the years, but rarely acknowledged or discussed such operations.

It has acknowledged, however, that it targets the bases of Iran-allied militias, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah group that has fighters deployed in Syria. It says it attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for the militias.

Israel justifies its attacks on facilities and weapons in Syria saying the Iranian presence on its northern frontier is a red line.