Several Syrian army soldiers have been killed after the country’s air defense systems responded to an Israeli attack near the capital, Damascus, Syria’s SANA news agency reported. Tel Aviv confirmed the raid.
The attack took place in the early hours of Wednesday as the city remained plunged in darkness.
“At about 3:11 am this day, the Zionist enemy launched an air aggression from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan on the southern region,” SANA reported, citing a military source.
Explosions rang out in the skies over the Damascus area, and the country’s air defenses intercepted “a number of missiles,” it added.
The attack claimed the lives of three soldiers, according to the military source. One serviceman was injured in the incursion, which also inflicted material damage.
Shortly after first reports came in, Israel claimed responsibility for the attack on the Syrian armed forces, saying it carried out a raid in retaliation after Damascus and the Iranian Quds Force allegedly planted explosive devices to attack Israeli troops in the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights.
“We stand prepared to operate against Iranian entrenchment in Syria,” the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) tweeted.
While Tel Aviv rarely confirms military operations outside of its own territory, Israel has routinely struck what it claims are “Iranian” and Hezbollah targets inside Syria under the pretext of depriving Tehran of a greater foothold in the war-ravaged country.
On Tuesday, the IDF announced that it had uncovered “a number of explosives devices” near the Israeli-controlled part of the occupied Golan Heights, vowing to “not tolerate any violation” of its “sovereignty.”
Israel captured much of the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War, but the area is recognized as Israeli territory only by the United States and Israel itself.