The IAF carried out airstrikes Wednesday morning against Syrian targets in retaliation for an attack carried out against IDF patrols near the Israel-Syria border. IDF soldiers were on patrol near the border fence when their jeep ran over a hidden roadside bomb planted by terrorists that infiltrated Israel. The IDF confirmed that the Syrian military was behind Tuesday’s attack.
The attack, which occurred near Majdal Shams, injured four soldiers. One of the soldiers suffered severe head and chest wounds and underwent emergency surgery at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center. He remains in intensive care.
According to the IDF, Israeli aircraft targeted strategic Syrian military sites, including an army training facility, artillery batteries, and military headquarters that “aided and abetted” in the attack.
Right after the attack took place, the IDF exchanged light arms fire with members of the Syrian military. The IDF hit Syrian military sites in the nearby city of Quneitra.
Hezbollah sources fighting in Syria for Assad revealed that Tuesday’s attack was a failed kidnapping attempt of IDF soldiers.
Al-Manar television, a Lebanese news outlet associated with Hezbollah, first reported the failed kidnapping attempt. The report quoted Hezbollah leaders as saying that even though they failed “this time, we are sure we will succeed in the near future.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the attack was due to a recent infiltration of “jihadists and Hezbollah members” from Syria into Israel, which “poses a new challenge.”
“In the past few years, we’ve succeeded in keeping the peace in the face of the civil war in Syria, and here too we will act forcefully to maintain Israel’s security,” the prime minister declared.
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a stern statement, confirming that “several targets associated with the Syrian army and defense establishment that aided and abetted yesterday’s terror attack” were targeted.
Ya’lon blamed Syrian President Bashar Assad for the terrorist attack on the IDF soldiers.
“We won’t tolerate any breach of our sovereignty or attacks against our soldiers and civilians,” he warned. “We will react with might and resolve against anyone who acts against us, no matter where and when, as we demonstrated last night. Anyone who tries to attack us will be signing their own death sentence.”
The defense minister issued a pointed warning to Assad, proclaiming that should the Syrian president “continue to cooperate with terror elements that aspire to harm the State of Israel, we will continue to extract from him a heavy price in a manner that will make him regret his actions.”
The Syrian army confirmed the Israeli air raid and said that one soldier was killed and seven others injured. A statement by Syrian army command said that the strikes “led to the martyrdom of one soldier and the wounding of seven others.”
“We warn that these desperate attempts to escalate and exacerbate the situation in these circumstances by repeating these acts of aggression would endanger the security and stability of the region,” the statement added.
The Syrian army accused Israel of deliberately thwarting what it deems are its successful efforts against rebel forces in the ongoing civil war.
“This new aggression is an attempt to divert attention from the successive victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army, particularly in Yabroud,” the statement said, referring to the army’s capture of a rebel stronghold on Sunday.
Tuesday’s attack comes in the wake of an incident which took place last Friday in the Har Dov area in the north. Terrorists infiltrated hundreds of meters into Israel and planted two IED bombs in front of an army jeep.
The explosion damaged the jeep and caused light injuries to three IDF soldiers. In retaliation for Friday’s attack, the IDF fired across the border into Lebanon, striking several Hezbollah targets.