A daring Israeli daylight airstrike led to Iranian forces in Syria firing a rocket at the Golan leading an Israeli minister to call this “open confrontation with Iran.”
The Israeli government confirmed they carried out a daring daytime airstrike against Iranian military targets in Syria on Sunday.
During our strike, dozens of Syrian surface-to-air missiles were launched, despite clear warnings to avoid such fire. In response, we also targeted several of the Syrian Armed Forces’ aerial defense batteries. pic.twitter.com/rHxJqqpI9n
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) January 21, 2019
The IDF stated that approximately ten targets were hit including weapons warehouses at the Damascus International Airport and, in other locations, an Iranian intelligence site and an Iranian training camp. The Israeli strikes also targeted multiple Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries.
Shortly after the airstrikes, IDF Iron Dome anti-missile systems shot down a projectile fired at Israel from Syria on Sunday. The rocket fire was observed by Israeli civilians skiing on the slopes of Mount Hermon.
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) January 20, 2019
The IDF blamed Iranian Al Quds forces for the missile fired at Israel.
The Russian military alleged additional Israeli airstrikes were carried out in the early morning on Monday.
“On January 21, 2019, between 2:11 a.m. and 2:56 a.m. the Israeli Air Defense carried out three airstrikes on Syria’s territory from the western, southwestern, and southern directions,” the Russian military statement said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported missile strikes near the Damascus airport and in areas around the capital saying the missiles hit apparent weapons depots of Iranian forces and Lebanon’s Shi’ite militant group Hizballah. 11 casualties were reported.
Intelligence Minister Israel Katz discussed the recent exchange of fire on Monday morning in an interview with Army Radio.
“This was a clear message to the Iranians,” Katz said in the interview. “The policy has changed. This is an open confrontation with Iran. When we need to step it up, we’ll step it up.”
“We won’t allow their entrenchment in Syria,” he said. Katz emphasized that the missile shot at Israel from Syria a direct attack. “Whoever attacks us will pay a heavy price,” he warned.
It is interesting to note that a Mahan Air flight from Tehran to Damascus approaching Damascus at 1:30 PM turned around and headed away from the city. These flights listed as civilian air carriers have been accused by Israel and the U.S. of being used to carry weapons and military personnel for Syria and Hezbollah.
The message was not lost on Iran as Brig. Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh, Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, addressed the media on Monday.
“Our current and future generations [in the air force] are impatient and fully ready to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth,” Nasirzadeh said, adding, “Our future generations are learning required know-how for the promised day to destroy Israel.”