Israel strikes Iranians in Syria, 10 reported killed

Syrian rights group reports 10 killed, including Iranians, in IAF airstrikes against Syria.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Israel Air Force attacked multiple targets in Syria early Wednesday in response to the discovery of bombs planted on the Israel-Syria border by an Iran-backed military squad, the IDF said.

On Tuesday, the IDF said its troops had discovered and neutralized several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) “which were placed by a Syrian squad led by Iranian forces.”

“In response, overnight, IDF fighter jets struck military targets belonging to the Iranian Quds force and the Syrian Armed Forces. During the strike, storage facilities, headquarters and military compounds were struck. In addition, Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries were struck,” the IDF said in a statement.

“The IED’s exposure yesterday (Tuesday) is further clear proof of the Iranian entrenchment in Syria. The IDF holds the Syrian regime responsible for all the actions perpetrated from its territory and will continue to operate as necessary against the Iranian entrenchment in Syria, which threatens regional stability,” the statement said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syrian opposition organization based in Britain, reported that three Syrian soldiers and five Iranians, who apparently belong to a Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, were killed. Two other dead militiamen are thought to be Lebanese or Iraqis.

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“The death toll is expected to rise further as the attack left several persons injured, some seriously. There are unconfirmed reports of more casualties. Furthermore, the attack caused substantial material damage,” the group said.

In the wake of the incidents, the IDF increased its alert level in the north and reinforced the Iron Dome system anti-rocket defense system deployed on the Golan Heights, but currently there is no change in the guidelines for Golan residents, Ynet reported.

IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Hidai Zilberman said the targets belonged to the Syrian army and the Iranian Quds Force, including “a secret residential compound hosted by Iranian officials, southeast of Damascus, but the attack was not carried out in the center of the compound in order to convey to them the message.”

“The attacks are intended to resonate with our message to the other side and to Iran: we will not allow an Iranian presence and certainly not near the border and we will not allow the Syrian regime to allow this activity,” Zilberman said.

Zilberman added that the IDF noticed the IEDs several weeks ago and monitored the Iranian force while gathering intelligence.

“We assume that the Syrian locals placed the explosives with the guidance and equipment of Quds Force,” Zilberman said.

The bombs were placed on the border where IDF forces operate from time to time and were identified as standard Claymore mines with remote detonation, each loaded with 2,000 fragments that can produce a lethal blast radius of 50 meters (160 feet).

The three mines were placed a distance from each other to increase the lethal effect, Ynet reported, but were safely collected and neutralized so they could be examined for intelligence purposes.