The Israeli army bombed Iranian targets in Syria on Wednesday, killing at least three people, according to Damascus, in retaliation for the discovery of explosives on the de facto border in the northern Hebrew state.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), Israeli Defense Forces troops found explosive devices … that placed Syrian squadrons led by Iranian forces,” the army said in a statement, noting that “in response, IDF aircraft bombed at dawn military targets of the Iranian Quds force and the Syrian army “.
The Quds Force is an elite unit of the Guardians of the Iranian Revolution tasked with overseas operations.
The army claimed it bombed “storage facilities, headquarters and military complexes.”
“Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries were hit,” the statement added.
According to the official Syrian agency Sana, which cites a “military source”, “the air attack” by the “Zionist enemy” “has killed three soldiers and injured a soldier and caused material damage.”
This source specifies that the Syrian antiaircraft defense batteries were activated to counter the Israeli fire “by shooting down a certain number of missiles.”
At first, the Sana agency, which reported “noises of explosions”, indicated that the antiaircraft defense faced “an Israeli aggression in the sky of the Damascus region.”
– “Syrian team” –
According to Israel, the explosive devices discovered near the de facto border, on the Israeli side, were “placed by a Syrian team led by Iranian forces.”
Israel has carried out hundreds of aerial bombardments and launched missiles against Syria since the start of the civil war in the Arab country in 2011, in particular against the Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces deployed in Syrian territory and against Syrian government troops.
The Syrian conflict, which was sparked by the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations, has been complicated over the years by the involvement of foreign powers and armed groups. The war already leaves more than 380,000 dead and millions displaced.
The Hebrew state rarely recognizes individual bombings, but does so when responding to specific attacks on Israeli territory.
Israel and Syria, technically still at war, are separated by a de facto border at the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since the end of the Six Day War in 1967.
– “Iranian presence” –
Israel “holds the Syrian regime responsible for all actions perpetrated against its territory and will continue to operate when necessary against the Iranian presence in Syria,” the army said.
Iran is an essential ally of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and has supported him throughout the war in Syria.
The bombings on Wednesday took place a few hours before the arrival in Israel of the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who will deal mainly with the Iranian dossier.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that Donald Trump has been the best ally Israel has ever had in the White House.
The New York Times said on Monday that Trump last week surveyed several of his top aides about the possibility of carrying out an attack on an Iranian nuclear plant in “the next few weeks.”
According to the newspaper, these collaborators “dissuaded the president from going ahead with a military bombardment.”
Donald Trump, who does not recognize Joe Biden’s victory in the November 3 presidential election, has long pursued a policy called “maximum pressure” against Iran.
Trump withdrew the United States from the international agreement on the Iranian nuclear dossier concluded in 2015, deeming it insufficient, and reinstated sanctions against Tehran.
According to Israeli experts, Netanyahu is concerned that President-elect Joe Biden, former vice president of Barack Obama, will initiate a diplomatic rapprochement with Iran and reintegrate the United States into the international nuclear agreement.
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