Early Tuesday, Syrian army officials said Israel carried out three separate assaults, on its territories, using jets and ground-to-ground missiles. The army's statement said the attack was a “flagrant Israeli aggression” and it will hold Israel “fully responsible for its consequences.”
The statement further detailed that the Israeli jets targeted the al-Qutaifa area near Damascus, according to Reuters report. The army said the attack came from within Lebanese airspace.
“Our air defenses responded to three Israeli missile attacks on military positions in the al-Qutayfah countryside,” official Syrian state media quoted military officials as saying.
The Syrian officials' statement said several missiles were launched, one at 2:40 a.m., two at 3:04 a.m. and four at 4:14 a.m.
Israel forces reportedly fired ground-to-ground rockets from the occupied Golan Heights. The statement further noted that, following the Israeli jets' final round of assault using four rockets, Syrian air defenses managed to hit one of the planes, the state TV report said.
Lebanese media said Israeli jets were seen flying over the country prior to the reported assault.
“The Middle East is raging around us, and what concerns us the most are Iranian efforts to establish military bases in Syria,” Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz disclosed to Army Radio on Monday. “The prime minister is leading a multifaceted campaign to stop this entrenchment.”
In an interview on Monday morning, Steinitz said that while “it’s no secret” that Israel is concerned by Iranian military presence in Syria, Netanyahu’s government is “carrying out diplomatic, intelligence and security operations” to prevent the war-torn country from “becoming an Iranian military base.”
“It’s a process that will take a few years, but we are determined to prevent it,” he told the Ynet news site.
Syria officials confirmed that some material damage was caused by the attack, which media reports were aimed at a weapons depot containing long-range missiles.The target was believed to be a base used by the military’s 155th Artillery Regiment.
Israeli military representatives declined to respond to the Syrian army statement.
Senior Israeli ministers and defense officials have reportedly been holding high-level talks about Iran's presence in both Syria and Lebanon.
“Syria and Lebanon have become one military entity. Israel must prepare for a new challenge… on the northern front,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was quoted as saying in a recent meeting.
“Any developments will be due to Hezbollah, Assad’s regime and all those collaborating with Assad’s regime, along with the Lebanese army. Unfortunately, this is the reality.”
Last month, Israel allegedly fired missiles at a suspected Iranian base in Syria, reportedly killing 12 Iranian military personnel and destroying several buildings.
Israeli Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Gadi Eisenkot, has said Iran as a “multidimensional threat,” claiming Iran funds Hezbollah – allocating between $700 million and $1 billion annually.