- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2018

Israeli warplanes carried out a barrage of airstrikes against military sites in Syria tied to Iranian-backed regime forces in the country Thursday, in retaliation to rocket attacks from Syria into the Golan Heights.

Over 30 Israeli-flagged fighter jets hammered suspected weapon storage facilities, ammunition depots and intelligence hubs used by military advisers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force in Syria, Israeli news outlet Haaretz reported.

Israeli jets also took out five Syrian air defense systems after they fired on the attack aircraft during the assault, according to military officials in Tel Aviv.

The strikes ended with 23 Syrian pro-regime fighters dead, including 18 foreign fighters, with two civilians killed and two others wounded, according to tallies taken by the British- based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Thursday’s strikes was the largest military incursion into Syria by the Israeli Defense Forces since the 1974 disengagement pact signed by Tel Aviv and Damascus.



The Pentagon or State Department have yet to issue a statement concerning the Israeli action.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday the strikes had decapitated the entire infrastructure for Syrian pro-regime forces linked to Tehran and Quds Force. The strikes, he added, were not a sign that Tel Aviv was seeking an escalation in violence against Iranian-backed forces in Syria.

But Mr. Lieberman vowed that Israel would not let Syria become a forward base for Iranian proxy forces to launch attacks, and Tel Aviv would again respond militarily should Iranian elements in Syria launch their own counterstrike. Thursday’s strikes were in direct response to a missile attack by Iranian proxies into Israel’s Golan Heights enclave on Wednesday.

Air raid sirens went off in the Israeli enclave just after midnight as the munitions began flying into the area, the Associated Press reports. The Israeli anti-missile system Iron Dome, put on alert after U.S. and Israeli intelligence picked up indicators of a pending attack on Tuesday, intercepted a majority of the incoming fire.

Military officials in Tel Aviv said no one was killed by the missiles that evaded the Iron Dome system, and the damaged caused by the attack was minimal, Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told the AP.

Tel Aviv characterized incident “with severity” and has responded, Lt. Col. Conricus said, without providing details on what that response was. Iranian Quds Force members were responsible for the strikes, IDF spokesperson Ronen Manelis said Wednesday.

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