By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 25 August, 2019
Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighters on Saturday night attacked Iranian terror targets in southern Syria and prevented a “pending, large-scale attack of multiple killer drones,” the IDF stated.
The IAF struck Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militia targets in Syria in the town of Aqraba, situated south-east of Damascus.
The Iranian-led forces were planning to launch armed drones at Israeli targets in the coming days, the IDF said.
Syrian’s SANA news reported that the Syrian Arab Army’s air defenses “repelled” an Israeli rocket attack on the surroundings of Damascus before midnight, “shooting down most of them before they could reach their targets.”
SANA quoted a Syrian military source who said that at 11:30 PM, their air defenses detected “hostile targets” approaching from above the Golan towards the surroundings of Damascus, and the attack was “dealt with immediately and efficiently, destroying most of the Israeli rockets before they could reach their targets.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights |(SOHR), which has assets inside the country, reported that several explosions were heard in the vicinity of the capital Damascus caused by bombardment by Israeli warplanes that targeted positions of militias loyal to the Syrian regime of “non-Syrian nationalities.”
The SOHR reported that “a number of missiles reached their specific targets while the Syrian regime’s air defenses managed to down others.”
The IDF has deployed Iron Dome defense systems in the Golan Heights in preparation of an Iranian retaliatory attack, and has shut down the air space over the area at least until the end of the week.
The IDF is “on high alert for the continued defense and is prepared to take any required action against plans to harm the state of Israel, and views Iran and the Syrian regime as those directly responsible for the attempted attack that was thwarted,” it stated.
Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated after the Israeli strike that “in a major operational effort, we have thwarted an attack against Israel by the Iranian Quds force and Shi’ite militias.”
“I reiterate: Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our forces operate in every sector against the Iranian aggression. ‘If someone rises up to kill you, kill him first.’ I have directed that our forces be prepared for any scenario. We will continue to take determined and responsible action against Iran and its proxies for the security of Israel,” he added.
Israel rarely takes responsibility for its actions inside Syria, and usually remains silent after attacks against Iranian and Hezbollah targets attributed to it.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force is commanded by the notorious General Qassem Soleimani and is responsible for spreading Iran’s subversive activities and terrorism across the Middle East and to other points around the globe.
It appears that the planned Iranian attack on Israel would have been similar to those being carried out by Houthi rebels in Yemen against targets in Saudi Arabia. The Houthi rebels are armed by Iran, which has been using the conflict zone in the country as a testing ground for the armaments it has been developing in recent years, and especially its drones.
Strikes against targets in Syria reportedly carried out by Israel are usually meant to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons from Iran through Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, or to thwart Iran’s military buildup in the country, and especially on Syria’s border with Israel.
Iran uses its positions in Syria to transfer weapons and infrastructure to its terror proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, while attempting to establish another military front against Israel from the Syrian Golan Heights.
Iran’s military build-up in Syria remains a red line for Israel. The IAF has carried out thousands of attacks to thwart the Iranian entrenchment in the war-torn country.