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Israel claims responsibility for airstrikes near Damascus, claims it foiled 'large-scale attack'

CNN logo CNN 8/24/2019 By Andrew Carey, CNN
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu during meeting with Ukrainian companies - high-tech leaders in Kyiv, Ukraine. 20-08-2019 (Photo by Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images) © Getty Images Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu during meeting with Ukrainian companies - high-tech leaders in Kyiv, Ukraine. 20-08-2019 (Photo by Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Israeli military Saturday said it foiled a "pending large-scale attack" by Iranian forces and Shiite militia on targets in Israel with a series of airstrikes near Damascus.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed responsibility for the airstrikes, saying it thwarted Iranian drone attacks on Israel, according to a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in acknowledging Israel's responsibility for the attacks, said on Twitter, "I repeat: Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our forces operate in every direction against Iranian aggression."

"He who rises to kill you, kill him first," Netanyahu said in his tweet, quoting Hebrew scripture.

The IDF issued its statement shortly after Syrian state-run news agency SANA said Syria's military intercepted "hostile targets" in the skies above Damascus.

The sounds of explosions were heard all around the Syrian capital, SANA said.

Residents in Damascus, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, told CNN the sounds of the blasts seemed to come from near the Damascus airport.

Syrian state news channel al Ikhbaria broadcast a breaking news banner stating: "The aggression is ongoing and anti-air defenses are countering and neutralizing hostile targets in the southern area."

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