Syrian state TV confirmed Israeli strikes had hit, but said only material damage was done after “several missiles” targeted a transportation center and a public building in the Quneitra area near the Israeli frontier.
The Israeli army initially blamed the rocket fire which it said had been intentionally targeted on Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group active in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, but not previously known to have a presence in Syria.
Israel says some of the attacks have been accidental spillover from the Syrian conflict while others have been intentionally aimed at Israeli civilians and soldiers. Israel consistently holds Syria responsible for any fire from its territory, intentional or otherwise, and directs retaliation at targets belonging to the Syrian army regardless of who was responsible.
“For us this is a clear act of aggression and was meant by the Iranians to… escalate tensions in the region”, the military official said in a conference call with foreign reporters in Israel.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, in a statement, accused Iran of seeking to “open a new terrorist front against Israel on the Golan Heights“.
The IDF struck 14 sites in an area under Syrian regime control in the Golan Heights from which the rockets were fired.
“We were monitoring this cell”, a source said on Friday.
The Israeli army didn’t touch upon the reported casualties however stated it carried out a raid Friday morning on “a part of the fear cell answerable for the rocket hearth at northern Israel”.
The Islamic Jihad has denied it was behind the rocket fire. But then he added: “Those countries that are quick to embrace Iran should know that it was an Iranian commander who endorsed and directed the cell that fired at Israel”.
Though it isn’t likely to become a full-scale war right now, all sides are testing their enemies’ limits, which could drag Israel further into the fighting in Syria. “Islamic Jihad has no armed presence outside of Palestine”, Dawoud Shehab, a group spokesman, told.
The Israeli army said the attacks were in response to rockets launched by a militant movement in Syria.
Yedioth Ahronoth said that this is the first time rockets have been fired from Syrian territories towards Galilee since 1973.