IDF Targets Syrian Army Posts in Overnight Strike

Sirens sound in northern Golan beforehand; IDF says strike in response to firing of four rockets into Israeli Golan Heights on Tuesday.

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Israeli soldiers stand next to mobile artillery units near the border with Syria in the Golan Heights, January 27, 2015. Credit: Reuters

Israel launched a strike on Syrian Army artillery posts after midnight Wednesday in retaliation for Tuesday's firing of rockets into Israeli territory.  Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that the targeted area were under control of President Bashar Assad's regime.

Israeli artillery scored direct hits on Syrian targets in the Quneitra province, according to a statement released by the Israel Defense Forces' spokesperson: "The IDF holds the Syrian Government accountable for all attacks emanating from its land, and will operate by any means necessary to defend Israeli civilians. Such blatant breaches of Israeli sovereignty will not be tolerated," the army statement read. 

A rocket alert siren sounded in the Golan Heights before the Israeli strike, though the IDF said no rockets landed in Israeli-controlled territory. 

Reports emanating this morning from groups in the Syrian opposition said the Israeli strikes targeted two bases belonging to the Syrian military in the Quneitra region, and one near the Damascus international airport.

The Quneitra-based battalions which were targeted in the strikes were suspected of firing the rockets at Israel on Tuesday, the reports said, citing no injuries or deaths among their forces.

Ya'alon said on Wednesday morning that the strikes overnight were carried out "in areas controlled by Assad, on targets belonging to his regime," and were meant as a message that Israel "would not tolerate any fire toward Israeli territory or breaches of its sovereignty, and would respond forcefully and with determination" to such events.

On Tuesday afternoon, four rockets were fired from Syria, two of which exploded in open areas of Israel's Golan Heights. The IDF responded with artillery fire, and identified a hit on the source of the rockets.

Officials assume that the rocket attack was a joint effort by Hezbollah and the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in the wake of the recent airstrike in Syria.

The 107mm rockets were fired from a distance of about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles). The source was identified as a Syrian position, and the IDF's return fire made a direct hit. 

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