Israeli warplanes were alleged to have struck targets near Damascus early Monday, April 27, hours after Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said: “Keep yours ears open. We have moved from containing Iran’s military presence in Syria to expulsion.”
Syrian agencies report that Israeli planes targeted Iranian sites south of Damascus. Syrian agencies report that Israeli planes targeted Iranian sites south of Damascus.
According to DEBKAfile’s sources, the Syrian army 4th Division depot at Mt Qasioun overlooking the Syrian capital was the target of the attack after the delivery to this location of Iranian precision kits destined for Hizballah to upgrade its missiles. This depot is a way station for the Iranian hardware smuggled over to its Lebanese proxy. Three Iranians were killed in the attack. They are believed to have been Al Qods advisers attached to the Syrian division.
This air strike was described as the second Israel attack in a week, in both of which Syrian air defense batteries were said to have intercepted some of the airborne missiles fired. The first attack blamed on Israel occurred on April 20 in the Palmyra region and was said by Syrian opposition sources to have killed 9 Iranian militiamen and Hizballah fighters.
After the reported attack on Monday, the Israeli planes were described as having loosed the missiles from low altitudes over southern Lebanon. The opposition TV station Halab Today reported loud explosions and continuous ambulance traffic for an hour before Syrian air defenses began responding.
Sunday night, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett stressed: “We are not only continuing to contain Iran’s military footprint in Syria but have moved categorially to a strategy of expulsion. Keep your ears cocked,” he said. “Iran doesn’t rest for a moment, but neither do we. For Tehran, this is an adventure a thousand kilometers from home; for us it is life,” Bennett went on to say: “And so we are more determined than ever not to allow Iran to set up a forward base against us in Syria.”
DEBKAfile adds: It was to Syria – even before Baghdad – that Gen. Esmail Qa’ani’s made his first foreign visit after succeeding the late Qassem Soleimani as Al Qods chief – evidence of Iran’s continuing focus on maintaining that forward base. Qa’ani inspected Iranian assets in the northern town of Aleppo.