Israel has confirmed that it carried out a series of airstrikes on military bases in Syria in retaliation for an attempted bombing of the Golan Heights by a terrorist group.
The Israel Defence Forces’ aircraft launched attacks on Monday night on military outposts near the Syrian capital of Damascus, which caused “material damage” according to Syrian state media reports.
It came after the IDF said it had killed four would-be bombers who were planning an attack in the Golan Heights, at Israel's northeastern border with Syria.
Though Israel has launched hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria, notably forces backed by the Iranian regime such as Hizbollah, it is less common for the Jewish state to acknowledge them in public.
Hizbollah is a Lebanese militant group that has vowed to destroy Israel. It is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK.
After the most recent strike, the Israel Defence Forces confirmed in a statement that it had targeted "observation posts and intelligence collection systems, anti-aircraft artillery facilities and command and control systems" at a Syrian base in Quneitra.
“The IDF holds the Syrian government responsible for all activities on Syrian soil, and will continue operating with determination against any violation of Israeli sovereignty,” it added.
Israel previously acknowledged a strike in November 2019 when the IDF struck dozens of targets in Syria that belonged to both the Syrian regime and Iranian-backed forces.
In response to an attempted IED attack near the security fence between Syria & Israel last night, we just struck SAF targets in Syria including:
🎯 observation posts
🎯 intel collection systems
🎯 anti-aircraft artillery
🎯 command & control systems
We hold Syria responsible.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) August 3, 2020
Those strikes were in response to a rocket attack by Iranian forces against Israeli territory.
And in August 2019, the Israel air force struck in Syria to prevent Iranian forces from carrying out a drone attack. “Our forces operate in every sector against the Iranian aggression,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time.
Lt Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a senior spokesman for the IDF, told the Telegraph: “It actually isn’t very unusual for us to acknowledge or take responsibility for strikes in Syria, especially not when it was in response to an attack against Israel.”
He added that Israeli forces remained on high alert and were anticipating another attack by Hizbollah fighters in the north.