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'Huge' Blast Hits Damascus Near Security Facility

A bomb blast has hit Damascus on January 20, in a rare attack in the Syrian capital.

A war monitor reported a "huge explosion" near a military intelligence office in the south of the city that left a number of people dead and wounded.

The blast was followed by shooting, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

The state news agency SANA reported that the “bomb blast" hit southern Damascus "without leaving any victims," and said a “terrorist” was arrested.

The explosion came as a bomb in the northern Syrian city of Afrin killed three people and wounded nine others, according to the Observatory, on the first anniversary of the start of a military operation by Turkey and allied rebels in the Kurdish-majority region.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts in Damascus and Afrin.

Meanwhile, Israel said it intercepted a rocket fired from Syria's Israeli-occupied Golan Heights after Damascus accused the Jewish state of carrying out air raids on the south of the country.

Syrian air defenses destroyed seven projectiles after four Israeli F-16 military planes "fired rockets into Syrian territory," according to the Russian military.

Israel's military declined comment on the air strike.

Russia and Iran have given Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crucial military and diplomatic support throughout the nearly eight-year war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Israel has pledged to stop Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, carrying out hundreds of air strikes there against Iranian targets and those of Lebanon’s Shi’ite militant group Hizballah.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa