Israeli military said it struck dozens of Iranian targets in Syria on Wednesday, carrying out a “wide-scale” strike in response to rocket fire on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights the day before.
Earlier, Israeli military spokesman Avichay Adraee said on Twitter that Israel had attacked Iranian and Syrian military targets in Syria as retaliation for rockets fired toward Israel the day before.
Syria’s air defences were able to destroy most of the missiles fired by Israeli jets over Damascus before they reached their targets, Syria’s state news agency SANA said, quoting a military source.
The military said its fighter jets hit multiple targets belonging to Iran’s elite Quds force, including surface-to-air missiles, weapons warehouses and military bases.
The strikes further burst into the open what’s been a long shadow war between Israel and its archenemy Iran. The two foes have increasingly clashed over what Israel says is Iran’s deeper presence along its borders.
Israel’s new hard-line defense minister, Naftali Bennett, issued an equally firm statement.
The rare rocket fire comes a week after an Israeli airstrike against a top Palestinian fighters based in Syria. Akram Al Ajouri, a member of the leadership of the Islamic Jihad group who is living in exile, survived the attack but his son and granddaughter were killed.
Israel frequently strikes Iranian interests in Syria. But last week’s airstrike appeared to be a rare assassination attempt of a Palestinian fighters in the Syrian capital. It came the same day as another Israeli airstrike killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, settling off the fiercest round of fighting there in years.
Iran has forces based in Syria, Israel’s northern neighbor, and supports Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. In Gaza, it supplies Islamic Jihad with cash, weapons and expertise.