Jerusalem: Israel on Thursday claimed that Iranian forces stationed in Syria fired at least 20 rocket missiles at Israeli military stations in occupied Golan Heights shortly after midnight. As per reports, Israel retaliated with air strikes targeting Iranian military bases in Syria. The Syrian army claimed that it shot down dozens of Israeli missiles launched at Syria, state media quoted a military source saying as per an AFP report.
“Dozens of missiles were shot down in Syrian airspace by anti-aircraft systems,” Syria’s official news agency, SANA reported. However, it did not clarify if the missiles were aimed at the Syrian capital of Damascus. AFP reported that explosions were heard in the capital in the wee hours of Thursday morning. SANA added, “Israel was aiming to destroy anti-aircraft defences and radar.”
Meanwhile, the Guardian quoted Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, spokesperson of Israel Defense Forces, as saying, “At approximately 12.10, 10 minutes past midnight, forces belonging to the Iranian Quds Force fired approximately 20 projectiles – most of them are probably rockets but that is yet to be determined – towards the forward line of IDF positions in the Golan Heights.” He added that several of the ‘Iranian rockets’ were ‘intercepted’ by Israeli defences.
If it is confirmed that it was indeed the Iranian forces that had launched the air strike, it would mark the first time that Iran had engaged in a direct strike on Israeli forces, the Guardian observed. The daily further added that the occupied Golan Heights have been on ‘high alert’ ever since US President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, in a break with his European allies, and upending a key policy decision of his predecessor Barack Obama.