Israel Intercepts Syria Rockets 11/19 06:13
JERUSALEM (AP) -- The Israeli military said it intercepted four incoming
rockets from Syria on Tuesday and explosions were heard shortly after that in
Damascus, a week after another Israeli strike targeted a top Palestinian
militant in the Syrian capital.
Israeli air defense systems captured the projectiles, the military said, and
no harm was caused to Israeli communities in the Golan Heights after warning
sirens awoke residents there early in the morning. There was no immediate
official comment from Syria but the SANA state news agency reported explosions
were heard near Damascus International Airport, indicating a potential Israeli
The Israeli military would not comment on the explosions in Syria, but
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett was convening the top military brass in Tel
Aviv to discuss the latest developments.
Speaking on Israel Army Radio, Foreign Minister Israel Katz was equally
vague, saying only that "Israel will act in the way it sees fit."
The rare rocket fire comes a week after an Israeli airstrike against a top
Palestinian militant based in Syria. Akram al-Ajouri, a member of the
leadership of the militant Islamic Jihad group who is living in exile, survived
the attack but his son and granddaughter were killed.
Israel frequently strikes Iranian interests in Syria. But last week's
airstrike appeared to be a rare assassination attempt of a Palestinian militant
in the Syrian capital. It came the same day as another Israeli airstrike killed
a senior Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, settling off the fiercest round of
fighting there in years.
It all comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iranian proxies
along its borders. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a
series of warnings recently about Iranian aggression throughout the Middle East.
Iran has forces based in Syria, Israel's northern neighbor, and supports
Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. In Gaza, it supplies Islamic Jihad with cash,
weapons and expertise.
Netanyahu also has claimed Iran is using Iraq and far-off Yemen, where
Tehran supports Shiite Houthi rebels at war with a Saudi-led coalition backing
the government, to plan attacks against Israel. Hamas also receives some
support from Iran.
At the same time, Iran's regional influence is being challenged by
unprecedented, economically-driven mass protests in Iraq and Lebanon --- two
countries where Tehran wields major influence. The protests are creating unrest
that Tehran fears would spark a backlash against Iran-backed proxy militias in
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused the U.S. and its
regional allies of fomenting the Iraq and Lebanon unrest.