Israeli fighter jets and drones struck targets near Damascus Saturday night, in order to foil a plot by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s al-Quds force to carry out a drone attack from Syrian soil.
According to sources, at least 28 Iranian-backed terrorists were eliminated in the strikes, including 15 Assad soldiers, 8 Iranian and 4 Hezbollah terrorists.
The strikes targeted Iranian Quds Force terrorists and Shiite militias which were preparing to advance attack plans targeting sites in Israel from within Syria over the last days.
In addition, an Israeli drone fell in a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut and a second drone exploded near the ground before dawn on Sunday, a Hezbollah terrorist told Reuters a few hours after Israel confirmed the strikes in Syria.
According to Hezbollah, the terror group had shot down the Israeli drones.
Additional Iron Dome missile defense batteries were deployed in northern Israel and the Air Force was placed on high alert at bases around the country ahead of a possible retaliation.
In addition, the Golan Heights airspace was closed to flights up to 5,000 feet.
PM Netanyahu held security consultations at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. “Iran has no immunity anywhere – I instructed to prepare for any scenario”, he said shortly after the strikes.
The Security Cabinet said the aim of the operation was to send a message: “We will not allow Iran to establish itself in Syria.”
Israel has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in recent years, most of them aimed at arms shipments to be headed from Iran to its Shiite proxy Hezbollah.
Direct clashes between Israel and Iranian forces have been rare.
“This was a significant plan with significant capabilities that had been planned for a few months,” IDF spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.
“It was not something done on a low level, but rather top down from the Quds Force,” he added.