Israel struck what it said were Iranian targets in Syria early Monday in response to rocket fire it blamed on Iran, sparking concerns of an escalation after a monitor reported 11 fighters killed.
Israel claimed responsibility for the strikes against facilities it said belonged to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, continuing its recent practice of speaking more openly about such raids.
It said the strikes were in response to a surface-to-surface rocket the Quds Force fired from Syria at the Golan Heights on Sunday, which Israeli air defenses intercepted.
“Yesterday, Iranian Quds forces operating in Syrian territory launched a surface-to-surface rocket from Syrian territory aimed at the northern Golan Heights,” the Israeli military said in a statement.
“In response to the attack, during the night fighter jets struck Iranian Quds Forces military targets in Syria in addition to Syrian aerial defense batteries.”
It said targets included munitions stores, a site at Damascus International Airport, an Iranian intelligence installation and an Iranian training camp.
It said it had also hit Syrian air defense batteries in response to fire from them.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said at least 11 pro-regime fighters including two Syrians were killed.
Russia, which like Iran is a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s war, said the Israeli strikes killed four Syrian soldiers and wounded six, while also damaging Damascus airport infrastructure.
The Observatory said airstrikes and ground-to-ground missiles hit targets around the capital including near the Damascus airport, as well as near the Thaala military airport to the south of the capital.
Targets included weapons depots belonging to the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and Iranian fighters.
Israel’s interception of the rocket on Sunday came after Damascus accused Israel of carrying out air raids in the country’s south.
Israel has pledged to stop its main enemy Iran from entrenching itself militarily in neighboring Syria.

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