Israel launches massive missile strikes in Syria
Syrian air defenses were deployed to thwart an attack by the Israeli rockets, Syria’s state SANA news agency reported. The bombing is reportedly being carried out by Israeli warplanes from Lebanese airspace.
Syrian air defenses engaged missiles that Israeli warplanes are launching from outside the country's territory, SANA reported on Thursday. The bombardment appeared to go on for hours, with the first missile strikes reported at about 1:30 am Damascus time on Thursday (22:30 GMT).
Early Thursday morning, IDF spokesman Avichay Adraee confirmed that the Israeli army was continuing to hit “Iranian targets” in Syria, warning that any retaliation by Syrian forces would be met with “extreme seriousness.”
SANA has released footage of Syrian air defense systems responding to incoming missiles.
The Israeli strikes are seen as a continued retaliation to what Israel claims were some 20 rockets launched by Iran’s Quds Force from Syrian territory into the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan Heights earlier in the night. The Israel Defense Forces said its Iron Dome systems intercepted some of the projectiles and the reported attack resulted in no injuries.
Around the same time, Syria’s state media reported that Israel shelled the city of Baath in the northern Quneitra governorate.
Tensions were ramped up in the region after US President Donald Trump announced his country’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, a fierce critic of the accord, hailed the decision, which drew sharp condemnation from Europe, Russia, China and other non-signatory countries. A day after Trump reneged on the internationally acclaimed agreement, Israel hit a Syrian army position in the Kisweh area south of Damascus.
Israel has been claiming that Iran is setting up bases of operations in Syria in order to stage attacks against the Jewish state. It has launched numerous air strikes against Syrian government-controlled territories, targeting alleged Iranian positions.
The Golan Heights in southwestern Syria have been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967 and are internationally recognized as a Syrian territory.