After a multitude of Iranian threats directed at Israel, Israel’s Transportation and Intelligence Minister said, “Only strikes now, today, could prevent violence and wars tomorrow.”
By i24NEWS – AFP
The death toll of a suspected Israeli strike on the outskirts of Damascus has risen to 15 non-Syrian pro-regime fighters, including eight Iranians, a Britain-based war monitor said Wednesday.
The strike hit a weapons depot of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards in the area of Kisweh south of the capital late Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
Reports cited by Israeli media outlets said that the targets of the strikes were Iranian missiles trained on Israel.
The Syrian army claimed that its anti-aircraft defenses intercepted and destroyed “two Israeli missiles launched against (the district of) Kissweh”, Syria’s official SANA news agency said.
The agency had earlier reported “explosions” in the southern suburb, while state television broadcast images of fires in the area targeted by the strikes.
There was no comment on the strikes from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which rarely confirms or denies its operations in Syria.
However Israel’s Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz implied Wednesday that Israel was behind the strikes, saying hours after the explosions that Iran “threatened—both in public and through messengers—to hurt Israel…Only strikes now, today, could prevent violence and wars tomorrow.”
Tuesday’s strikes came just hours after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from a multinational nuclear deal with Iran, a move Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately praised as “brave” and “correct”.
His statement came as the IDF ordered civilian shelters in the country’s northern Golan Heights region to be opened and called up military reserve units after observing what it described as “irregular” activity by Iranian forces in Syria.
Multiple Iranian officials have vowed to take revenge for an alleged Israeli strike on Syria last month that killed several Iranian military personnel, sparking weeks of military preparations in Israel.
On April 9 missiles targeted the T-4 air base in the central province of Homs, killing up to 14 fighters, including seven Iranians, two days after an alleged chemical attack carried out by the Syrian regime.
The air base was also targeted by Israel in February.
On April 29, at least 26 mostly Iranian fighters were killed by missiles fired on regime military positions, according to the Observatory.
The strikes, “probably Israeli”, targeted a military airport in Aleppo in the country’s north and Brigade 47 in Hama, where Iranian forces are stationed, the Observatory said.
In recent years, particularly since 2017, Israel has carried out numerous strikes in Syria against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and his ally, the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.
Occasional clashes have erupted between Israel and the Syrian regime and its Hezbollah ally in the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967.
Israel is concerned that Iran and Hezbollah are embedding forces along its border.
In an interview late last month, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to strike at any attempt by Iran to establish a “military foothold” in Syria.
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