Israel said it attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria on Thursday after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time.
It was the heaviest Israeli barrage in Syria since the start in 2011 of its civil war, in which Iranians, allied Shi’ite militias and Russian soldiers have deployed in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria’s Army Command said three people were killed and two injured. A war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the strikes killed at least 23 military personnel, including Syrians and non-Syrians.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Iranian rockets either fell short of their targets, military bases in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, or were intercepted.
Expectations of a regional flare-up, amid warnings from Israel it was determined to prevent Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, were stoked by U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.
The Trump administration portrayed its position against that agreement as a response, in part, to Tehran’s military interventions in the region – underpinning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tough line towards Iran.