The Israeli military attacked Iranian targets Sunday night in Syria, the Israel Defense Forces spokesman said, hours after its Iron Dome system intercepted a missile launched from Syria following a strike on an airport south of Damascus on Sunday attributed to Israel.
Russia’s defense control center said that four Syrian soldiers were killed and six were wounded in the attack, adding that Syrian military air defenses destroyed more than 30 cruise missiles and guided bombs during the air strikes.
– Amos Harel talks about Pompeo, Gaza and Lebanon tunnels
Israeli attack in Syria, January 21, 2019. – דלג
Israeli attack in Syria, January 21, 2019.SANA
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Al Jazeera in arabic quoted Iranian Air Force chief Brig. Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh as saying in response to the attack that Iran’s "Armed Forces are well prepared for the day when Israel will be destroyed."
Syrian state media cited a Syrian military source as saying Israel launched an "intense attack through consecutive waves of guided missiles", but that Syrian air defenses destroyed most of the "hostile targets".
– IDF tweet
These are the Iranian Quds military sites in Syria that we targeted in response:
🎯 Munition storage sites
🎯 Military site located in the Damascus International Airport
🎯 Iranian intelligence site
🎯 Iranian military training camp pic.twitter.com/pzHQv81l1C
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) January 21, 2019
The targets of the Israeli strike against Iranian sties in Syria
Witnesses in Damascus said loud explosions rang out in the night sky.
The Israeli military said earlier on Sunday that missiles fired toward the northern Golan Heights were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. It added in a statement on Monday that an Iranian force fired these missiles, but said it holds the Syrian regime responsible for any activity in its territory.
"The Iranian attack toward Israel’s territory is yet another clear proof of the intention behind Iran’s attempts at entrenchment in Syria and of the danger they pose to the State of Israel and to regional stability," the army said. "The IDF will continue to operate with decisiveness and determination against Iran’s entrenchment in Syria."
The Israeli army also said the popular winter tourist site on Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights would be shut for the day, citing security concerns. It added that otherwise things remained "routine" along the frontier with Syria.
The missile launch came after Syrian state media said its air defenses repelled an Israeli attack in the south of the country, bringing down seven missiles. Russia claimed that Israel was behind the attack, which targeted an airport in southeast Damascus.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a visit to Chad, spoke about the reported strikes. "We have a set policy, to target the Iranian entrenchment in Syria, and to harm whoever tries to harm us," he said. "This policy doesn’t change when I am in Israel or while I am on a historic visit to Chad."
Israel’s policy of ambiguity regarding its Syria strikes has been all-but-lifted recently by Netanyahu and former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.
It began with Eisenkot’s proud assertion to the New York Times of attacks on thousands of targets in the north during his tenure. Last week, Netanyahu took public responsibility for attacking Iranian weapons stores in Syria a few days earlier.
"The accumulation of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to take action against Iran in Syria," Netanyahu said, while Eisenkot said that Israel "struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit.”
DPA contributed to this report.
– A video of one of the strikes.