Explosions heard in Quneitra province in southwestern Syria -state media

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AMMAN (Reuters) - Explosions were heard on Tuesday in Quneitra province in southwestern Syria near the border with Israel, state media said, an area where military defectors say Iranian-backed militias are dug in.

The pro-Damascus Lebanese Mayadeen television channel said that Israeli missiles struck an area near the Druze frontier town of Hadr, a particularly sensitive zone as it lies next to the Golan Heights that Israel captured from Syria in 1967.

"We don't comment on foreign reports," an Israeli military spokesperson said.

The area near where U.N. peacekeepers maintain a longstanding ceasefire between Israel and Syria has a strong presence of Iranian-backed militias led by the Lebanese Hezbollah group.

Israel has over the last two years dramatically expanded air strikes on suspected Iranian targets in Syria to repel what it sees as a stealthy military encroachment by its regional arch-enemy.

Israel says it will not allow Iran and its militias to establish a permanent military presence along its borders that would allow Hezbollah to pose a major threat to its security.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman, additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Mark Heinrich)

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