Israel says airstrikes hit Syrian targets in response to rocket launches
Israeli jets hit Syrian military targets on Sunday in response to rockets launched towards Israeli-controlled territory overnight, Israel's military said, as violence flared again following cross-border exchanges of fire during the week.
State media in Syria reported explosions in the vicinity of the capital Damascus as Israel said its forces continued to hit Syrian territory after six rockets were fired overnight towards the Golan Heights.
Israel said artillery and drone strikes hit the rocket launchers and were followed by airstrikes against a Syrian army compound, military radar systems and artillery posts.
The Israeli military "sees the State of Syria responsible for all activities occurring within its territory and will not allow any attempts to violate Israeli sovereignty," the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement.
The Syrian defense ministry said its air defenses had responded to the Israeli attacks and intercepted some Israeli missiles. It said no casualties had been reported with only material damage caused by the strikes.
Sirens had sounded earlier near towns in the Golan Heights as rockets were launched from Syrian territory, but no damage or casualties were reported. Israel seized the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed the 1,200-square-km (460-square-mile) territory in 1981, a move not recognized by most of the international community.
Only three of the rockets crossed into Israeli-controlled territory, with two falling on open ground and a third intercepted by air defense systems, the military said.
Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen TV said the rocket salvos were claimed by Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.
On Thursday, more than 30 rockets were fired towards Israel from southern Lebanon, drawing cross-border counterstrikes from Israel on sites linked to the Islamist movement Hamas in Lebanon and Gaza.
The cross-border exchanges came amid sharply increased tensions between Israel and Palestinian groups following Israeli police raids in recent days on Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, which caused outrage across the Arab world.
(Cover: The silhouette of an Israeli soldier is outlined in the sky by a flare fired to search for a rocket that landed near Kibbutz Meitsar in the Israeli annexed Golan Heights, April 9, 2023. /CFP)