Israel launches retaliatory strikes against targets in Syria

Israeli forces have targeted militants and the Syrian military following a series of rocket strikes into the Golan Heights. It is the most recent bout of violence in the region this year.

Israel launches retaliatory strikes against targets in Syria
Israel launches retaliatory strikes against targets in Syria


The Israeli military carried out two rounds of strikes on targets within Syria on Sunday after a militant group fired six rockets into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it responded to the rocket fire with an artillery barrage.

"In response to the rockets fired from Syria at Israel earlier today, IDF Artillery is currently striking in Syrian territory," the military tweeted, adding that a drone was also "currently striking the launchers in Syria from which rockets were launched into Israeli territory."

Syrian state media also reported strikes hitting military facilities close to the capital, Damascus.

Israel "sees the State of Syria responsible for all activities occurring within its territory and will not allow any attempts to violate Israeli sovereignty," the IDF said in a statement.

What do we know so far?

The IDF said six rockets were fired from Syrian territory on Saturday night, in two rounds. Of the six, two landed in the Golan Heights, and one was intercepted by Israel's air-defense system.

The rockets triggered sirens in the occupied region, but no damage or casualties were reported.

The 1,200-square-kilometer (460 square miles) region, officially belonging to Syria, has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Six-Day War. Most countries, and the UN, do not recognize Israel's declared annexation of the territory.

Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV reported that a militia claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to a police raid on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. There was, however, uncertainty over the identity of the group due to multiple militias bearing similar names.

Tensions again on the rise

The Israeli response included artillery barrages, as well as a drone strike on the location of the rocket launches, and the subsequent air strikes on Syrian military facilities, which included a compound belonging to Syria's 4th Division, as well as radar and artillery posts.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported that Syrian forces had "intercepted the rockets ... and brought down some of them."

According to Syrian officials, Israel has carried out 10 attacks inside Syrian territory this year, killing both civilians and Syrian soldiers, as well as Iranian military advisers.

The increase in attacks comes as Israel vows to put a halt to Iran's growing influence in Syria.

But tensions have also been on the rise in Israel and the Palestinian territories amid attacks by the Israeli military and Palestinian militant groups.

It comes as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover, as well as the Christian holiday of Easter.

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