Netanyahu appears to confirm Israeli missile fire at Syrian Golan
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Netanyahu appears to confirm Israeli missile fire at Syrian Golan

Hours after Arab media report a strike on Hezbollah assets, PM says Israel acting against the terror group, and ‘you’re hearing about that now’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a security cabinet tour of the IDF's installations on the Golan Heights, February 6, 2018. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/File)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a security cabinet tour of the IDF's installations on the Golan Heights, February 6, 2018. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/File)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to confirm on Thursday that Israel was behind a reported missile attack earlier in the day in the Quneitra region in Syria.

“We’re defending ourselves at all times,” Netanyahu said at a national memorial ceremony for Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a Zionist thinker who is the intellectual forebear to Netanyahu’s present-day Likud party.

The prime minister recalled the attack by a Palestinian gunman at the Gaza border earlier in the day that left three soldiers wounded, and added, “We’re also fighting on other fronts. On the northern front, we’re acting against Iran and Hezbollah, and you’re hearing about that now as well.”

Earlier Thursday, official Syrian media said Israel fired a missile at the Quneitra region in a rare daytime raid, causing damage but no injuries.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces on the purported raid on the Syrian Golan Heights, which was reported by the SANA Syrian state news agency.

An Israeli military outpost in the Golan Heights is pictured from the Syrian town of Quneitra on March 26, 2019. (Louai Beshara/AFP)

The Al Arabiya network said the alleged Israeli missile strike in Syria followed movement by members of the Hezbollah terror group in the area.

Hebrew-language reports said residents of the Golan Heights heard explosions.

Israel commonly conducts strikes in Syrian territory, targeting Iranian missile shipments meant for the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah to use against the Jewish state.

According to a report on Tuesday, Israel has expanded its operations against Iranian targets to Iraq, where Air Force jets struck twice in 10 days. Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic-language newspaper published in London, cited Western diplomatic sources as saying an Israeli F-35 plane was behind a July 19 strike on a rocket depot in a Shiite militia base north of Baghdad.

The IDF has not commented on that report either.

Illustrative: Pro-government forces wave Syrian flags after taking back the city of Quneitra from rebels on July 19, 2018. (AFP Photo/Youssef Karwashan)

A strike in Syria last week was also blamed on Israel. Nine people were said to have been killed, including six Iranians fighting for the Syrian regime, in the strike, which reportedly was geared to prevent Iran from taking over a strategic hill in the Daraa province in the country’s south.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria since the beginning of the conflict there in 2011, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in the country, as well as those loyal to the Assad regime, as part of a stated policy of preventing arms transfers to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the entrenchment of Iranian military forces across from Israel’s northern border.

Israel does not usually comment on specific reports of strikes, but does insist it has the right to defend itself by targeting positions held by Iran and Hezbollah.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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