IDF fighter jets struck Iranian and Syrian military targets, air defense batteries and Quds Forces positions throughout Syria in the predawn hours of Monday, in response to the firing of a surface-to-surface missile fired by Iranian forces a day earlier toward Israel’s Golan Heights, like reported by jpost.com.
According to IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, the airstrikes were carried out in three waves and targeted military targets belonging to Iran’s Quds Force in Syria, including weapons storage sites, a site at Damascus International Airport, an Iranian intelligence site and an Iranian training camp.
In addition, several Syrian air defense batteries were struck after dozens of anti-aircraft missiles were fired toward the Israeli jets.
“During the attack, dozens of Syrian surface-to-air missiles were fired, despite the clear warnings expressed [by Israel] to refrain from attacking,” the IDF said in a statement. “As a result, a number of Syrian air defense batteries were also attacked.”
Syria’s SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying that regime forces destroyed most of the missiles before they struck their targets.
“Our air defenses dealt with the situation and intercepted the hostile missiles, downing most of them before reaching their targets as they continue their heroic response to the aggression,” the report said, adding that the “Israeli aggression was carried out from above the Lebanese territory, the Galilee and Lake Tiberias, using various types of weapons.”
Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s defense control center as saying that Syria’s air defenses destroyed more than 30 cruise missiles and guided bombs fired by Israel and that four Syrian servicemen were killed in the strikes.
Israel’s military said the large-scale strikes came as a response to Iranian forces in Syria of firing a missile with the intention of hitting the northern Golan on Sunday. The missile was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.
According to Manelis, the missile that was fired toward Israel was an Iranian-made surface-to-surface missile whose launch had been prepared months in advance.
“This is not the sort of missile that is fired spontaneously,” he said, adding that “they took advantage of the opportunity yesterday to launch it towards the northern Golan Heights where there are both civilian and military targets.”
Manelis told reporters that the missile was fired from around the capital of Damascus in an area which Israel had been assured “by the relevant parties” that Iranian forces would not be found.
“The firing of the missile yesterday, a launch that could have killed civilians, was fired by Iranians out of Damascus within an area that we were promised that there would be no Iranians,” he said. “The bottom line is that such a missile fired by Iranians from an area where there they are not supposed to be is an Iranian attempt to attack Israel, to endanger civilians lives and military targets.”
Manelis stressed that the missile launch on Sunday and the Iranian target struck early on Monday showed just how deep Iran’s entrenchment in Syria is.
“This is the third time that Iran has tried to attack Israel in the past year, he said, adding, “Iran is exploiting Syria, and Syria is paying a heavy price for facilitating Iranian actions.”
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit also said in a statement that “the Iranian attack on Israeli territory yesterday is yet another clear proof of the intention behind the attempts to establish Iran in Syria and the danger they pose to the State of Israel and regional stability. The IDF will continue to act decisively and firmly against the Iranian establishment in Syria.”
Following the attack, the IDF announced that the Hermon skiing site would be closed to visitors on Monday. Residents of the Golan were told to maintain their routine on Monday until further instructions from the IDF Home Front Command were issued.
The commander of the Iranian Air Force said on Monday that the country was prepared for a decisive war with Israel, “which will bring an end to the IDF’s attacks on Syria.”
“Our armed forces are prepared for a war that will bring the destruction of Israel,” he said, according to media reports.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said the Syrian regime is responsible for what is happening in its territory and warned it not to act or to allow other actors in the country to take further action against Israel.
“The IDF is ready and alert for a variety of scenarios and will continue to act as necessary to ensure the safety of Israeli citizens,” read the IDF statement.