3 soldiers reported dead as Israel hits Iranian targets in Syria
Jerusalem/Cairo, Nov 18 (efe-epa).- Israeli jets have struck defense sites in Syria belonging to the Iranian Quds force and the Syrian military, an Israeli military spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Syria state news agency SANA reported that three Syrian troops lost their lives, and one suffered wounds in the “Israeli aggression” in the south of the country.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said the overnight attack was in response to Iran and Syria planting improvised explosive devices to target Israeli troops on the Alpha Line, an imaginary demarcation between Israel and Syria in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
“Just struck Iranian Quds Force and Syrian Armed Forces targets in Syria. We stand prepared to operate against Iranian entrenchment in Syria,” the IDF said in an early morning tweet.
An IDF spokesperson said in a statement that the targets of the aerial strike included storage facilities, headquarters, and military compounds, and “Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries.”
The military warned of more such strikes to target Iranian military facilities in Syria and said it “holds the Syrian regime responsible for all the actions perpetrated from its territory and will continue to operate as necessary against the Iranian entrenchment in Syria.”
SANA, citing a military source, said Syrian “air defenses confronted” and launched several missiles in retaliation to the Israeli air attack from the occupied Syrian Golan.
The news agency said the attack claimed the lives of three soldiers, wounded another, and caused some material losses.
Israel often targets Syrian government forces and its Lebanese and Iranian Shia militias, although it rarely acknowledges such strikes.
The Israeli authorities consider the presence of Iranian troops in Syria a risk to the security of the Jewish state.
Iran is one of the main allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been battling a deadly civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people since it erupted in 2011.
The airstrike came hours before United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was expected in Israel on Wednesday for a three-day visit.
Pompeo is likely to hold talks, including on Iran, with Israeli officials during what could be his last visit before President Donald Trump leaves office for Joe Biden. EFE-EPA