Israel said it attacked nearly all of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria on Thursday after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time in the most extensive military exchange ever between the two adversaries.
It was the heaviest Israeli barrage in Syria since the 2011 start of the civil war in which Iranians, allied Shi’ite Muslim militias and Russian troops have deployed in support of President Bashar al-Assad. The confrontation came two days after the United States announced its withdrawal, with Israel’s urging, from a nuclear accord with Iran.
Israel destroyed dozens of Iranian military sites in Syria, as well as Syrian anti-aircraft units that tried unsuccessfully to shoot down Israeli planes, Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.
Syrian state media said Israel launched dozens of missiles and hit a radar station, Syrian air defense positions and an ammunition dump, underscoring the risks of a wider escalation involving Iran and its regional allies.
The Syrian Army Command said Israel’s attack killed three people and injured two others. A Britain-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the strikes killed at least 23 military personnel, including Syrians and non-Syrians.