By Loveday Morris | Washington Post
TIBERIAS, Israel – The Israeli military said Iranian forces fired 20 rockets from inside Syria toward its positions on the Golan Heights around midnight Wednesday, as regional tensions escalated after the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
The rocket attack marked the first time that Iranian forces have ever fired directly on the Israeli troops, according to the Israeli military.
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An Israeli military spokesman said the rockets were fired by Iran’s Quds Force, a special-forces unit affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, and that several of the rockets had been intercepted by Israel’s missile defense system. No one was injured on the Israeli side.
The Israeli miliary said it “views this event with great severity and remains prepared for a wide variety of scenarios.”
The Syrian state news agency reported that Israel had carried out strikes on targets near the Syrian town of Quneitra, just east of the Golan Heights. It said that Syrian air defenses had responded. Earlier in the day, Israeli military policeman ushered journalists away from a viewing point that overlooked the town.
Air-raid sirens sounded in the Golan Heights shortly after midnight. In nearby Tiberias, on the edge of the Sea of Galilee, explosions could be heard above the music of bars entertaining busloads of tourists. The explosions were followed by sporadic fire into the early-morning hours.
With Syria’s civil war raging just across the border, Israeli residents of the Golan Heights have become used to the air-raid sirens and errant fire. But recent days have been different, and war jitters have spread across Israel.
On Wednesday, it had seemed like business as usual on the Golan, a plateau that rises dramatically behind the Sea of Galilee, captured from Syria by Israel in the 1967 war. Children went to school and wineries welcomed groups of tourists.
But Israel trucked in tanks and additional air defense batteries, and the military chief of staff touched down in a helicopter to tour the area to assess the army’s readiness.
On Tuesday, an airstrike widely attributed to Israel reportedly killed eight Iranian soldiers after Israel said it had detected unusual Iranian troop movements across the border and had intelligence about a possible attack from Syrian soil.
Iran had threatened to retaliate against Israel after an airstrike in April …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News