‘Things happen’: Gantz coy on new Syrian airstrikes

In line with Israel’s standard policy of ambiguity on military actions, the IDF neither confirmed nor denied involvement in airstrikes in southern Syria early Wednesday.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Local Syrian media reported that Israeli airstrikes hit sites in southern Syria, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The SANA state news agency said missiles hit two Syrian army sites and a Hezbollah vehicle, allegedly used for intelligence gathering, near the border with Israel’s Golan Heights. No casualties were reported.

During an interview with Kan News on Wednesday morning, Defense Minister Benny Gantz hinted at Israel’s involvement without directly confirming that the IDF was responsible.

“I won’t go into who fired what last night,” he said. “We won’t allow terrorist operatives from Hezbollah or Iran to set up on the Golan Heights border and we will do what is necessary to drive them out of there.”

When the interviewer asked if this was the justification for the strike, Gantz responded coyly, “Listen, things happen.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group, told AFP they believed that Israel was the “likely” force behind the strike.

“SOHR sources have reported a loud explosion in the village of Al-Hurriya in northern province of al-Quneitra, believed to be an Israeli shelling, targeting the headquarters of Iranian militias in the area,” read a statement on the group’s site.

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In line with Israel’s standard policy of ambiguity on military actions, the IDF neither confirmed nor denied involvement.

According to a report on SOHR’s site, over the course of the last three years the Israeli Air Force “have fired no fewer 4,200 air-launched missiles…in about 1,000 airstrikes that destroyed an estimated one-third of Syria’s air defense systems along with a quarter of its surface-to-surface missile arsenal pointed at Israel and a fifth of its radar systems.”

Last month, Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad said his government would be willing to enter into peace talks with the Jewish state, on the condition that Israel give up the Golan Heights.

Speaking to Russian state media, Assad said negotiations would be possible after Israel “returns the occupied Syrian land.”