Iranian forces in Syria 'fired about 20 rockets' at targets in Golan Heights, Israeli military claims

Jerusalem views incident 'with severity' and has responded, says army chief

Harriet Agerholm
Thursday 10 May 2018 01:22 BST
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An Israeli soldier sits on an armoured vehicle as it drives near the Israeli side of the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel 9 May 2018.
An Israeli soldier sits on an armoured vehicle as it drives near the Israeli side of the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel 9 May 2018.

The Israeli military has claimed Iranian forces in Syria have fired about 20 rockets at its positions in the Golan Heights.

Some of the projectiles were intercepted and damage on the Israeli side was minimal, it said, adding that there were no casualties.

Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said Israel viewed the incident “with severity” and had responded, although he did not specify how. ”This event is not over,” he added.

Syria’s state news agency said that the country’s air defences had intercepted “hostile Israeli missiles”, and later media in the country said the missiles were fired over the country’s capital, Damascus.

Israel has been on heightened alert in recent days, anticipating an Iranian attack following Iranian vows to retaliate to what it says are recent Israeli strikes in Syria targeting Iranian outposts.

Earlier this week Syrian state media said Israel struck a military outpost near Damascus.

London-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missiles targeted depots and rocket launchers that probably belonged to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, killing at least 15 people, eight of them Iranians.

Last month, an attack on Syria’s T4 air base in Homs province killed seven Iranian military personnel.

Israel was also said to have struck government outposts in northern Syria, killing more than a dozen pro-government fighters, many of them Iranians, although it has neither confirmed nor denied most of the airstrikes. But for months, it has repeatedly said it will not accept a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria.

Iranian forces moved into Syria after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011 to back the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

President Donald Trump‘s announcement earlier this week that the US was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran has also triggered uncertainty in the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Moscow on Wednesday to meet with President Vladimir Putin and discuss military coordination in Syria.

Russia has also sent forces to Syria to back Assad. But Israel and Russia have maintained close communications to prevent their air forces from coming into conflict.

Israel views Iran as its archenemy, citing Iran’s calls for Israel’s destruction, support for militant groups across the region and growing military activity in neighbouring Syria.

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