Israeli and Iranian forces exchange fire in Golan Heights
Cii Radio|Ayesha Ismail|10 May 2018| 23 Shabaan 1439
Iranian forces on the Syrian-held side of the Golan Heights shelled Israeli army outposts on the strategic plateau on Thursday but caused no casualties, the Israeli military said.
Israel retaliated, military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said, without elaborating.
Israel launched repeated rounds of rocket fire into Syria early on Thursday, Syrian state media reported, after Israel’s military said Iranian forces in Syria had shelled one of its outposts near the border.
Syrian state TV said the Israeli rockets targeted an arms depot and military bases.
The scale of Israeli rocket fire appeared to be far higher than in previous incidents and Damascus residents described seeing explosions above the city from air defence systems.
The late-night incident followed a surge in tensions between Israel and Syria, where Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces have been helping Damascus beat back a seven-year-old rebellion.
“The Syrian air defences are confronting a new wave of Israeli aggression rockets and downing them one after the other,” state news agency SANA reported.
Fearing that Syria, Iran and Hezbollah are setting up a front against it, Israel has occasionally struck at their forces.
Iran blamed it for an air strike on 9 April that killed seven of its military personnel in Syria, and vowed revenge.
Israel’s military said around 20 rockets were fired by Iran’s Quds Force, according to a Haaretz article, adding that some of the rockets were intercepted. Israel did not specify how many were shot down.
The reported rocket barrage came shortly after an unconfirmed Israeli air strike in Syria, said a News Corp Australia report.
The Australian report also said that Israeli tanks had fired into Syria, without providing any additional details.
Videos of the rocket attack have begin circulating on social media, but they have not been independently verified.
Syrian anti-aircraft defences intercepted Israeli missiles launched at Syria early on Thursday, according to the official SANA news agency, which cited a military source.
The Israeli missiles were launched in retaliation after Iranian forces in Syria fired rockets and missiles at the part of the Golan Heights occupied by Israel, the Israeli army said.
Tensions have been high since Tuesday when US President Donald Trump announced he was quitting the Iranian nuclear deal, prompting Israel to go on high alert.
The Israeli military said it had identified “irregular activity” by Iranian forces in Syria and instructed civil authorities in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to ready bomb shelters. It also deployed additional units and mobilised some reservist forces.
Israel’s government was a strong supporter of, and advocate for, Trump’s decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal and has been readying itself for a possible regional flare-up.
In the run-up to Trump’s decision, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised presentation last week that Israel had obtained tens of thousands of pages of what he described as Iran’s “secret atomic archives” from what looked to be a dilapidated Tehran warehouse.
Syrian state media accused Israel of launching missiles at a target near Damascus shortly after Trump’s announcement. Syrian air defences fired at two Israeli missiles, destroying both, according to Syrian state news agency SANA.
Source – MEE