Israel's military said it attacked dozens of Iranian targets in Syria early Thursday, hours after it said Iran fired 20 rockets at Israeli army posts in the Golan Heights.
Israel said, and Syria's state media reported, that Israeli missiles hit air defense positions, radar stations, logistics sites and intelligence centers used by Iranian forces, and an ammunition depot.
The blistering Israeli assault was by far the most intensive Israeli action in neighboring Syria since the civil war broke out there in 2011. Israel has previously acknowledged carrying out more than 100 airstrikes over the past seven years, most believed to be aimed at Iranian weapons shipments bound for the Hezbollah militant group.
Residents and activists reported explosions early Thursday in Syria's capital, Damascus. There was no immediate word on Iranian casualties.
The state-run SANA news agency said anti-aircraft systems shot down dozens of missiles, but that some struck a number of targets.
Israel has rarely commented on its military activity in Syria, where it is believed to have conducted multiple sets of airstrikes against Iranian forces.
But Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said on Twitter early Thursday that Israel was acting against Iranian targets inside Syria.
Another spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, told reporters earlier that Iran's Al Quds force was responsible for the rockets fired at several Israeli bases in the Golan Heights.
He said the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted some of the rockets, while others caused minimal damage and no casualties.
Israel has been on high alert in recent days after Iran threatened retaliation for a series of airstrikes on its military positions inside Syria last month that killed at least seven Iranians. Iran blames Israel for those strikes, while Israel has not confirmed or denied the attacks.
Israeli intelligence has said it anticipated possible Iranian action after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Source: Voice of America