Five killed in new Israeli raid on Syria
By Staff writer, Al Arabiya News /Friday, 21 August 2015
A new Israeli raid on Syrian-controlled territory in the Golan Heights killed at least five people on Friday, Syrian state television said, describing the dead as unarmed civilians. An Israeli military source said the strikes targeted militants who fired rockets into Israel on Thursday. “Aircraft of the Israeli enemy targeted a civilian car in the village of al-Kom, killing five unarmed civilians,” Syrian state television said. A reporter for state television in the Quneitra province where the raids took place said they occurred at 10:30 am (0730 GMT) and were carried out by a drone. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group, also confirmed five people had been killed, saying two pro-regime militiamen were among them. Friday’s strikes came after Israel said it had hit at least 14 Syrian army position in the Golan Heights on Thursday in response to the rocket fire on the Galilee region in northern Israel. An Israeli military source confirmed the Friday raids, saying “part of the squad responsible for firing the rockets yesterday was targeted and neutralized.”
The source said the raids were believed to have killed four or five people. Earlier, the Israeli army has warned the government in war-wracked Syria it will “suffer the consequences” after four rockets crashed on Thursday into the north of the Jewish state and the occupied Golan. Syria’s state run news agency SANA, however, later said that an Israeli helicopter fired several missiles inside Syria, targeting the governorate building in Quneitra but that the strikes caused only material damage. “This was the work of Islamic Jihad, an organization financed and working for Iran, and we consider the Syrian government responsible for the firing and it will suffer the consequences,” the Israeli army said in a statement. It was referring to a Palestinian militant group which is based in the Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad on their part have denied the Israeli allegation, according to Reuters news agency. They previously threatened reprisals should one of its activists in Israeli detention, Mohammed Allan, die of a hunger strike. Allan ended the fast on Wednesday after an Israeli court intervened.
The Israeli military and security sources said the four rockets caused fires but no casualties. Israel seized 1,200 square km of the Golan from neighboring Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it 14 years later, in a move never recognized by the international community. Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the Golan has been tense, with a growing number of rockets and mortar rounds hitting the Israeli side, mostly stray, prompting occasional armed responses.(With Reuters and AFP)
IDF: Iran’s Quds Force responsible for rocket fire
Ahiya Raved, Yoav ZItun/Ynetnews/Latest Update:08.21.15/Army strikes in Syria after five rockets land in northern Israel, starting fires in open areas; IDF says Islamic Republic directed the incident. The IDF struck targets in Syria on Thursday evening after four rockets were fired at northern Israel, with two landing in the Upper Galilee and two in the Golan Heights. The projectiles landed in open areas and there were no immediate reports of any casualties. One landed near a town, causing a fire. The IDF said it believed the firing was deliberate and that it was considering retaliatory fire. It also said the firing originated in Syria’s Quneitra area, which is under Syrian President Bashar Assad’s control and in which according to reports, Hezbollah operatives Samir Kuntar and Mustafa Mughniyeh have free rein. However, according to the IDF, Islamic Jihad was responsible for the fire, using Iranian funding and direction. The IDF also said it saw Syria as responsible for the fire. Islamic Jihad spokesman Daud Shihab strongly denied that the organization was responsible.
A senior IDF officer said: “The incident was directed by Iran – Saeed Izadi, the head of the Palestinian department of the Iranian Quds Force. He directed the rocket fire today and is active in smuggling weapons from Syria to Lebanon.” The source added that the army had struck a number of targets, including infrastructure and weapons belonging to the Syrian army. “We hold the Syrian state responsible,” he added. “We attacked with tanks, artillery, and one target from the air… We attacked several kilometers into Syria, five or six sites with multiple targets within each site. Our attacks are much more severe this time around, in order to send a message and underscore the severity of this incident,” he said. “The Iranians want to heat up the front against us in the northern and southern Golan,” said the officer. “It’s in the Syrian and Iranian interest.” Syrian media accused Israel of supporting terrorist organizations rebeling against the Assad regime. New outlets also reported that one Syrian had been killed in the attack and another seven had been wounded. The retaliatory strikes conducted by the IDF were part of a newly organized large scale attack plan against Syrian targets, which was prepared in recent months by the Northern Command. The framework came about as a result of new threats posed by Iranian forces on the Syrian Golan, and in anticipation of renewed rocket fire against Israel from this front, as was experienced this afternoon. Combat troops from the artillery corps’ Meitar unit took part in the strikes, firing their electro-optical Tamuz missiles against Syrian targets in the border region. The IDF identified a direct link between the rocket fired aimed at Israel this afternoon, and a single mortar that was fired last week from Quneitra, which exploded in the agricultural fields near Ein Zivan. Earlier Thursday, the air force announced it had deployed an Iron Dome missile defense battery to Ashdod in southern Israel. Gaza security coordinators received warnings Wednesday of possible rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. They said Iron Dome was brought into the field due to the deteriorating condition of Mohammed Allaan, a suspected member of Islamic Jihad who ended his hunger strike Wednesday after more than two months, when Israel declared it was suspending his administrative detention because he had suffered brain damage. While southern Israel has experienced several rocket sirens in recent weeks, they are rarer in the north. In June, sirens in the north were turned out to be caused by fighting in Syria. In April, two mortars landed in northern Israel, which proved to be errant shells from fighting in Syria.
IAF strikes in Syria, kills rocket launchers
Yoav Zitun/Roi Kais/Ynetnews/Latest Update: 08.21.15/In second round of strikes inside Syria, 4-5 men killed said to be responsible for rocket fire Thursday evening on Israel’s north. The Israel Air Force launched additional air strike in Syria Friday morning, targeting a vehicle in which 4-5 men were killed who were responsible for Thursday’s rocket fire on the Golan Heights, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon confirmed Friday morning. A senior IDF officer told Ynet that the attack occurred inside Syria some 10-15 kilometers from the Israeli border within territory entirely controlled by the Syrian Army. The squad of men, according to the officer, were Islamic Jihad members under Iranian auspices. Ya’alon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the officer’s statements, saying that the squad had been eliminated and that that IDF would identify and chase down anyone threatening the safety of Israeli civilians. “I said this week that whoever attempts to harm us, we will harm – and that’s exactly what we did.” The prime minister said those who fired the rockets had been killed that that Israel had also struck at Syrian forces who “allowed” for the rocket attack. Syrian media reported a slightly different version of events, claiming that five civilians had been killed in the Israeli air strike. Reports also said that others in the vicinity suffered minor injuries and that the strike had been carried out by an Israeli drone. Itamar Eichner contributed to this report.
Israel Strikes Syria in Response to Rocket Fire in the North
Haaretz/Gili Cohen and Jack Khoury Aug 20, 2015/The Israeli army responded with artillery fire after rockets fired from Syria exploded in Israel’s north on Thursday, while the Israel Air Force also struck Syria in response. At least four rockets were fired at the northern Galilee and Golan Heights on Thursday afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces said. The rocket attack, which the IDF characterized as “deliberate and orchestrated,” resulted in no casualties. Two explosion sites were identified in the northern Galilee, and two in the Golan Heights. No damage or injuries were reported.The IDF Spokesman said in a statement that “the army sees Syria as responsible for the fire, and it will pay the price for it.”The rockets were likely fired from territory area under the control of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. The Syrian government only controls the area around the village of Khader near the border with Israel, but deeper inside the Syrian Golan Heights there are additional areas under the Assad regime’s control. The IDF also said that Islamic Jihad fired the rockets “with Iranian funding and direction.” Palestinian administrative detainee Mohammed Allaan, who recently lost consciousness and suffered irreparable brain damage due to his prolonged hunger strike, was a member of the Islamic Jihad. The IDF has responded in the past to incidents they see as “crossing a red line,” or direct attacks on Israel. In the past, the Israeli army has attacked targets belonging to the Syrian Army in response to firing at Israel on the Golan Heights. The defense establishment considers such attacks on the Golan as terrorist attacks, with Iran being behind them. The IDF notes there are a number of groups operating on the Syrian side of the border Samir Kuntar’s militia and that of Mustafa Mughniyeh, the brother of Jihad Mughniyeh who was killed in January in an attack attributed to Israel; as well as local Palestinian groups.
IDF: At Least Four Rockets Fired at Northern Israel Likely From Syria
Haaretz/August 20/15/At least four rockets were fired at the northern Galilee on Thursday afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces said. An unconfirmed number of the projectiles exploded in the north after sirens sounded in several towns on the Israel-Lebanon border.
The IDF said that the rockets were likely fired from Syria. The rockets probably came from an area under the control of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. The Syrian government only controls the area around the village of Khader near the border with Israel, but deeper inside the Syrian Golan Heights there are additional areas under the Assad regime’s control. There were no reports of damage or injuries, but there were brush fires at the scene. Residents were instructed to stay in their homes for ten minutes.Earlier, sirens sounded in several towns on the Israel-Lebanon border, including Gonen, Kfar Bloom, Lehavot HaBashan, Kfar Szold.
The four rockets fired on Galilee came from the new Iranian terror front on the Golan
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 20, 2015/Israel’s top government and military went on a high level of preparedness Tuesday, Aug. 18 in expectation of the first terrorist attack to be orchestrated by Iran from Syrian or Lebanese borders. That is what brought Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott on a tour of inspection to the Golan and Northern Command headquarters. Netanyahu said then that Israel is ready for any scenario and would “harm anyone trying to harm us.”debkafile’s military sources report that these events were sparked by the knowledge reaching Israeli intelligence that Iranian Al Qods and Hizballah officers were building a new terrorist network for mounting large-scale terrorist attacks on Israel from the Syrian border opposite the Golan. The officers had handed out anti-tank and anti-air rockets to the terrorists, raising Israeli suspicions that one of their plans was to seize an Israeli location or part of one and try and hold out against an Israeli counter-offensive of tanks and assault helicopters. Our counter-terrorism sources disclose that three radical terrorist movements staff the new network: One is the hard-line rejectionist Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC). Another is the Golan-based Syrian Druze group known as Liberators of the Golan. It is headed by the notorious Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese Druze who has set up a Golan terror ring based in the Druze village of Al-Khadar opposite the Israeli border fence. Also harnessed to Iran’s new Golan terror organization is the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) which is made up of radical Christian terrorists. This old timer violent group, which is run by Syrian intelligence, took part in the 1982-3 Hizballah bombing massacres at the US Embassy and Marine headquarters in Beirut. The first SSNP activists have arrived in the Quneitra district of the Golan. According to our military sources, it is this Iranian-backed network which Thursday, Aug. 20, fired a salvo of four rockets from the Golan into upper Galilee and the Golan. The impact set off brush fires but caused no casualties. A red alert had sent most people running to shelters. This was an unusually long-range attack: Previous launches from within Syria, whether deliberate or stray fire from the civil war there, hit the Israeli-held Golan without reaching the Israeli interior. It is now up to Israel to decide how and when to respond to an act of war orchestrated by Tehran, after the prime minister’s warning Tuesday had no deterrent effect.