A still from a video claiming to show an Israeli strike on Iranian positions near Damascus, Syria, August 24, 2019
Israel struck military sites near Syria’s capital Damascus on Saturday night, claiming that it had pre-empted an “imminent” Iranian operation to attack Israeli territory with drones armed with explosives.
In a rare acknowledgement of its raids, the Israel Defense Forces said fighter jets fired missiles targeting the Quds Forces, the Revolutionary Forces branch operating outside Iran, and Iranian-backed militias.
BREAKING: We just prevented a pending, large-scale attack of multiple killer drones on Israel by striking Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite Militia targets in Syria.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) August 24, 2019
IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said Israel monitored the plot for several months and prevented an “advanced attempt” on Thursday. When Iran tried again on Saturday, Israel targeted “a number of terror targets and military facilities belonging to the Quds Force as well as Shiite militias”, Conricus summarized:
This was a significant plan with significant capabilities that had been planned for a few months. It was not something done on a low level, but rather top down from the Quds Force….
The threat was significant and these killer drones were capable of striking targets with significant capacity.
As usual, the Assad regime’s military said it downed most of the incoming Israeli missiles.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called for Tehran’s full military withdrawal, declared a “major operational effort”:
Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our forces are operating in every arena against Iranian aggressiveness,” he said in a statement.
If someone rises up to kill you, kill him first.
The Israeli Government, tweeting in Farsi, posted a claimed video of the stirkes:
نخست وزیر نتانیاهو: "در یک اقدام عملیاتی وسیع، حمله تروریستی نیروی قدس سپاه پاسداران علیه اسرائیل را خنثی کردیم. رژیم جمهوری اسلامی در هیچ کجا مصون نخواهد بود".
انفجار مواضع تروریستی سپاه قدس در سوریه👇
— اسرائیل به فارسی (@IsraelPersian) August 24, 2019
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against Assad regime, Iranian, and Hezbollah targets during Syria’s eight-year conflict. The attacks initially focused on Iranian transfers of weapons and missiles to Hezbollah and on the movement of Iranian and Hezbollah personnel to southwest Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. In the past 18 months, with Netanyahu demanding Iran’s withdrawal from Syria, Israel expanded the raids to targets Assad regime bases with Iranian personnel throughout the country.
On August 15, Israel struck one of the Assad regime’s major conventional and chemical weapons complexes, the Scientific Studies Research Center at Masyaf in Hama Province.