Israel says more than 20 rockets were fired from Syria into the Golan Heights by Iranian forces last night, in a dramatic escalation of tensions between the two nations.
Israeli forces responded in kind and “the two regional enemies exchanged fire for hours during a volatile night” CNN reported.
“Forces belonging to the Iranian Quds Force fired approximately 20 projectiles … towards the forward line of IDF positions in the Golan Heights” said Israel Defence Forces spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus.
There have been no immediate reports of casualties in the Golan Heights, and a damage assessment is still under way.
Syrian state TV reports that an Israeli strike subsequently hit an ammunition depot and a radar site on its territory, and claimed that dozens more missiles had been intercepted. Israel has warned Russia and Syria not to intervene in its response.
“The IDF views this Iranian attack very severely,” Conricus said. “This event is not over.”
The Guardian reports that Israel is determined not to “permit Tehran to establish a permanent military presence in Syria, accusing Iran of moving drones and missiles into its Arab neighbour”.
Last night’s exchange of fire was “the most direct confrontation between Israel and Iran to date”, says CNN, but it was not a suprise. Israel “had been expecting an Iranian response for some time”.