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Israel 'launched strikes near key Syria port'

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Smoke rises after shelling in Latakia province, western Syria, on April 25, 2013. The White House said that Syria had likely used chemical weapons against rebel forces on a "small scale," but emphasized US spy agencies were still not 100 percent sure of the assessment. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINAAFP/File

A series of explosions on July 5 near the key Syrian port city of Latakia were the result of Israeli air strikes, CNN reported, citing three US officials.

In the report late Friday, the network said the strikes were aimed at Russian-made Yakhont missiles that Israel viewed as a threat to its naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the report.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based rights group opposed to President Bashar al-Assad's regime, originally reported the blasts, saying they struck ammunition depots.

The centre said there were reports of deaths and injuries but could not provide further details.

Israel has launched a number of air strikes inside Syria since the start of the two-year uprising against Assad, saying they are aimed at preventing sophisticated weapons from being transferred to militant groups.

Israel is especially concerned about Syrian weapons falling into the hands of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, a close Assad ally that battled the Jewish state to a bloody stalemate in the summer of 2006.