According to reports from a local war monitor, an Israeli missile strike attack on Syria killed at least six Iran-backed fighters on Friday.

The slain Iranians were all foreign paramilitaries fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

As reported by Observatory Chief, Rami Abdul Rahman, the missiles were fired from Lebanese airspace and hit the positions held by Iran-backed militias in the Masyaf district of Hama province.

The Britain-based group added that the attack launched in the province of Hama also destroyed depots and rocket-manufacturing facilities belonging to pro-Iranian militias.

Masyaf is a significant military area for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime that includes a military academy and a scientific research center.

One of the missiles targeted the government-run research center, where surface-to-surface missiles are allegedly being developed and stored. Iranian experts are believed to work in the research center.

According to the United States, sarin gas was is also created at the center, a claim denied by Syrian authorities, who say the country has possessed no chemical weapons since it dismantled its arsenal under a 2013 agreement.

The Israeli military said it would not comment on reports in foreign media.

Syrian state news agency SANA said air defences intercepted missiles fired by Israel on Masyaf.

“Our air defences intercepted an Israeli attack on the Masyaf area,” SANA reported.

It said air defences hit “most” missiles before they reached their target. State Television also aired footage claiming to show Syrian air defences responding to the Israeli attack.

Israeli jets reportedly flew very low over parts of Lebanon early Friday, terrifying residents on Christmas Eve, some of whom reported seeing missiles in the skies over Beirut.

Israel rarely confirms details of its operations in Syria, but has always maintained that Iran’s presence in support of President Bashar al-Assad is a threat to which it will continue to respond.

In the past few years, Israel has admitted to carrying out dozens of airstrikes in Syria, most of them aimed at suspected Iranian weapons shipments believed to be bound for Hezbollah. The country’s officials have previously expressed concerns that Hezbollah is trying to establish production facilities to make precision guided missiles.

According  to data compiled by the  Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Israel has carried out more than 30 air strikes on targets across Syria so far in the past year.