'Several dead' in Israeli retaliation against rocket attacks from Syria

Access to the comments Comments
By Sarah Taylor
'Several dead' in Israeli retaliation against rocket attacks from Syria

The Israeli air force has fired missiles into Syria in a retaliatory assault for rocket attacks in northern Israel.

The Syrian army says at least five civilians died when Israel targeted the Quneitra area in the Syrian Golan Heights. An Israeli defence official claims the assault killed four Palestinian militants, who were responsible for the attacks on its territory.

Islamic Jihad

Israeli officials say the rockets targeting Israel were fired from the Quneitra region by the Iranian-backed Palestinian military faction Islamic Jihad. The group acknowledges receiving support from Iran, but denies it fired rockets into Israel.

It had previously threatened action if one of its members died in Israeli detention. Mohammed Allan had been on a hunger strike, but ended the fast a day before the strikes following intervention from an Israeli court.

The faction’s leaders are based in the Syrian capital Damascus. Most of its followers are in the Gaza Strip, an area bordering Israel, which is dominated by the Hamas group. It has largely been observing a truce with Israel following a 2014 war in the Palestinian enclave.

Material damage

Syrian state television confirmed Israeli forces had struck Syria, but originally said the damage was purely material. It said “several missiles” targeted a transportation area and a public building.

Israeli officials said the attacks in the north of the country set off brush fires, but caused no casualties.

Activity on the border has been minimal since the 2006 war between
Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah.