Late Wednesday Iranian forces that are based in Syria, launched about 20 rockets toward Israeli positions in the Golan Heights, according to Israeli military officials.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its Iron Dome missile defense system had intercepted “some” of the incoming rockets. No injuries were reported.
But Israel retaliated.
Military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said Iran’s Al Quds force had fired the rockets at several Israeli bases, though he would not say how Israel had determined the Iranian involvement. The incoming attack set off air raid sirens in the Israeli-controlled Golan.
The IDF asked residents of the Golan Heights to remain in special “safety zones” for the time being.
Meanwhile, Syria’s state media said Syrian air defenses had intercepted “hostile Israeli missiles” early Thursday that were fired over southwestern Damascus. Hours later, state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast a live feed of Syrian air defenses firing into the sky above the capital.
The hostilities began with Israeli firing at Syrian positions in southern Syria from across the border. Pro-Syrian media said Syrian missiles then fired at Israeli forces. One TV station, Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen, said at least 50 missiles were fired from Syria at Israeli forces in the Golan Heights. Al-Ikhbariya TV said missiles targeted 10 Israeli positions.
Israel has been on heightened alert in recent days, anticipating a possible Iranian retaliation for a series of deadly strikes on its military positions in Syria.
Tuesday Israel struck a military outpost near the capital of Damascus. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missiles targeted depots and rocket launchers that likely belonged to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard in Kisweh, killing at least 15 people, eight of them Iranians.
Tensions between Iran and Israel has been high, ever since Iran began to expand its military presence in Syria, where it is a key ally of President Bashar Assad. Repeated airstrikes attributed to Israel have killed Iranian fighters and prompted threats of reprisal from Tehran. Meantime, President Donald Trump’s announcement Tuesday that the U.S. would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran has triggered uncertainty and threatened to spark more unrest in the Middle East.