Israel hits targets in Syria after IED discovered in Golan Heights

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The strikes killed three Syrian servicemen and injured one, according to the Syrian Sun News Agency SANA, which said air defenses intercepted an “Israeli aggression.”

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the military struck eight targets in Syria belonging to the country’s military and the Quds Force, a branch of the Corps of Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The targets were all located in the area between the Israeli border and the outskirts of Damascus.

Conricus said the timing of the strikes was unrelated to the arrival in Israel of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later Wednesday. As part of his visit, Pompeo is expected to visit the Golan Heights on Thursday, still considered occupied Syrian territory by most of the international community, although the United States recognized Israeli sovereignty over the territory last year.

Among the affected locations were a military site at Damascus Airport, used as Iran’s headquarters in Syria, and a secret military site, which hosted high-level Iranian delegations, Conricus said. The IDF also struck advanced surface-to-air missile batteries after firing at Israeli planes, Conricus said.

The strikes were carried out in retaliation for the placement of three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Golan Heights. The IEDs – Claymore anti-personnel charges – were placed by local Syrian forces on instructions from the Quds Force, Conricus said.

The IEDs were discovered outside Israel’s security fence, but inside the Alpha Line, which marks the UN-recognized buffer zone between Israeli territory and Syria.

The devices had been placed there “in recent weeks,” Conricus said, adding that various intelligence sources had indicated that the Quds Force would attempt to place explosives there.

An IDF search uncovered the explosives on Tuesday morning. The location of the IEDs is close to where Syrian forces attempted to place explosives along the security fence in early August.

CNN’s Angela Dewan contributed from London.

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