Israel feared attacks by explosive drones, including from Hezbollah
Israeli warplanes carried out strikes in Syria to prevent an Iranian force from launching an attack on Israel with drones loaded with explosives, such as “suicide bombers,” the Israeli army said Saturday night. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed a “major operational action” to counter the planned attack by “Iranian force Al-Quods and Shiite militias”.
“Iran has no immunity,” Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Our forces operate in any sector against the Iranian aggression”. The Israeli raid took place in Aqraba, southeast of Damascus, according to military spokesman Jonathan Conricus. “The threat was significant and these killer drones were able to hit targets with real efficiency,” he said.
The drones “kamikazes”
He also noted that while Iranian forces launched rockets and missiles against Israel three times in 2018, the use of “kamikaze” drones to explode on their targets was a new and “different” tactic. Jonathan Conricus also assured that his country held Iran and the Syrian regime responsible for the drone attack, and that forces in northern Israel were “ready to respond optimally to any development”.
In Lebanon, a drone fell on Sunday shortly before dawn and another exploded in the southern suburbs of the capital Beirut, Hezbollah stronghold, said a leader of the Shiite movement. The incident came hours after Israeli strikes in neighboring Syria. But the official was not able to say whether the drones were Israeli and if they had been shot down by the Shia movement.
Explosions heard in Damascus
Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the war in that country in 2011, most targeting Iranian or Hezbollah targets in the Jewish state, but it is rare for it to communicate about its interventions so quickly. Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shiite group that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Tehran. Israel wants to prevent Iran from settling militarily in Syria in a sustainable way.
On the Syrian side, a military source quoted by the official Sana news agency said that the Syrian army’s anti-aircraft defense had gone into action on Saturday night to counter “Israeli missiles” from the Golan and targeting the area around Damascus. , stating that most had been shot before reaching their targets.
“The aggression was immediately taken over and now, the majority of enemy Israeli missiles have been destroyed before reaching their targets,” the source said. Several loud explosions were heard in Damascus before the Sana agency announced the defensive action.