Egypt Independent

Israel strikes Syrian army positions in retaliatory attack, army says



JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military on Friday said its helicopters struck Syrian army targets in response to mortars fired toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

“A number of targets were struck, including SAF observation posts and intelligence collection systems located in SAF bases,” the military said in a statement, referring to the Syrian Armed Forces.

Syria’s state news agency SANA quoted a military source as saying Israeli helicopters targeted three outposts in Syria’s southern Quneitra area with anti-tank guided missiles, causing two injuries and some forest fires.

The strike came a few hours after the Israeli military said blasts were heard from the Syrian-held area of the Golan Heights. No casualties were reported but a building and an Israeli vehicle were damaged, it said.

Tension rose this week along the Israel-Syria frontier after a fighter of the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah was killed in an apparent Israeli strike on the edge of Damascus on Monday.

The Israeli military said it has since boosted its forces on its northern front, where Israel borders Lebanon and Syria.

Following the killing of two Hezbollah members in Damascus last August, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, vowed it would respond if Israel killed any more of its fighters in the country.

Hezbollah has deployed fighters in Syria as part of Iranian-backed efforts to support President Bashar al-Assad in a conflict that spiralled out of protests against his rule in 2011.

Israel sees the presence of Hezbollah and its ally Iran in Syria as a strategic threat and has mounted hundreds of raids on Iranian-linked targets there. It captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem, Hesham Abdul Khalek and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Tom Brown