National Security

Israel Strikes Iranian Bases in Syria After IED Fears

Israeli troops on the border with Syria / Getty Images

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) struck Iranian and Syrian military installations after militants placed improvised explosive devices near the Israeli border, the IDF announced Wednesday.

Militants associated with Iran's Quds Force had placed IEDs against the border fence separating Israel and Syria, which prompted Israel's counterattack. The episode recalls a back-and-forth between Syria and Israel in August, in which Israeli troops dispatched helicopters, fighter jets, and drones to take out four terrorists in southern Syria and the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces were responding to similar reports of aggression from Syria and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed terrorist group.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus mentioned the August operation in a statement about this week's attacks, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Since it was apparent that the message that we wanted to convey last time wasn't clear enough, not to the Iranians and not to the Syrian regime … we struck military targets belonging to the Quds Force as well as the Syrian Armed Forces," Conricus said. "We hope now that the message is clear that it is unacceptable that the Syrian regime allows and tolerates and facilitates the use by Iranian forces of Syria as a launchpad for attacks against Israel."

Conricus said that Israeli aircraft targeted and hit Iran's military headquarters in Syria, surface-to-air missile batteries, a secret military site that hosted Iranian military envoys in Syria, and the headquarters of Syria's Golan Heights armed forces. The Quds Force uses the Syrian headquarters as a base of operations, Conricus noted.

The attacks come as the Trump administration continues to strengthen ties with Israel. Last month, Washington announced it would allow Americans born in Jerusalem to list their birthplace as Israel. The administration also assured Israeli defense officials that it would continue to protect the Jewish state's military comparative strength while selling fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates.