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Syria says air defences foil missile strike

Syrian air defences identified a missile that was fired towards the city of Masyaf near Hama late on Thursday and destroyed it before it hit its target, a Syrian military source said.

Adds military source, background

BEIRUT, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Syrian air defences identified a missile that was fired towards the city of Masyaf near Hama late on Thursday and destroyed it before it hit its target, a Syrian military source said.

The missile was fired from the direction of northern Lebanon, the military source added in a statement distributedon a messaging app.

State television had previously reported the sound of a massive blast near Masyaf in Hama province although there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

Israel has acknowledged repeatedly striking targets inside Syria in recent years, and some attacks Damascus has attributed to Israel have been made from Lebanese airspace.

Israel wants to stop military build-up in Syria by its arch regional foe Iran and Tehran's close military ally the Lebanese Hezbollah group, which are both fighting on President Bashar al-Assad's side in Syria's eight-year civil war.

(Reporting by Alaa Swilam in Cairo and Angus McDowall in Beirut; Editing by Sandra Maler and Richard Chang)

((angus.mcdowall@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: angus.mcdowall.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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