AP Photo/Jordanian military via Jordan TV
JERUSALEM – Syria’s state-run SANA news agency reported an Israeli attack targeting a military base south of Damascus about two hours after President Trump announced a decision to withdraw from the international nuclear agreement with Iran.
The reports of explosions also come after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Tuesday placed Israel’s northern communities on high alert with the IDF detecting “irregular Iranian activity” and “abnormal movements of Iranian forces in Syria.”
The AFP reported on the alleged Israeli strike:
Syrian state-run media is reporting an Israeli attack near the capital Damascus, saying Syrian air defenses shot down two missiles.
The official news agency SANA says Tuesday night’s attack occurred in the countryside in Kisweh, just south of Damascus.
An official with the Iran-led axis of resistance said the strike targeted a Syrian army position and caused only material damage. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give official statements.
The Times of Israel, citing local Syrian reports, noted the area of el-Kiswah, where the blasts were heard, has previously been identified as the site for a potential Iranian military base.
An IDF spokesperson would not comment on the reports of an Israeli strike in Syria. Israel has a policy of not commenting on military strikes beyond the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Just before the explosion reports, Haaretz reported the IDF believes Iran is “making efforts to carry out an imminent retaliation against Israel,” according to the newspaper’s characterization.
IDF Spokesman Jonathan Conricus sent out the following tweet:
The IDF has detected irregular Iranian activity in Syria and is preparing the civilian population on the Golan Heights accordingly, as well as defensive systems. Any aggression against Israel will be met with a severe response.
— Jonathan Conricus (@LTCJonathan) May 8, 2018
The IDF reportedly told local authorities its warnings are based on “abnormal movements of Iranian forces in Syria.”
The Times of Israel further reported:
The army did not instruct residents to enter bomb shelters, only for local authorities to open public ones in case of emergency. A number of reservists were also called up, the army said. An IDF spokesperson would not elaborate on which units they came from, but media reports indicated they served in air defense, intelligence and Home Front Command units.
The Israel Defense Forces said it deployed missile defense batteries in northern Israel and “there is high preparedness of IDF troops for an attack.” The military called on residents to listen to security instructions as needed.
Israel’s heightened alert comes the same day Trump announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, adding that his administration “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction.”
“Today’s action sends a critical message, the United States no longer makes empty threats,” Trump warned in his announcement.
Threats of Iranian retaliation follow numerous airstrikes against Iranian military targets in Syria that have been attributed to Israel.
Ten days ago, Syrian state television reported that “enemy” rocket attacks struck military bases in Hama province and in the Aleppo countryside, with reports of 26 or more pro-regime fighters, mostly Iranians, killed in the blasts.
On April 14, there were reports of a “violent explosion” in the southern section of Aleppo province in Syria in an area where Iranian forces were present. Hezbollah-affiliated media outlets at the time claimed the incident involved a controlled explosion.
On April 9, strikes blamed on Israel hit the Iran-run T-4 military base that was reportedly used to operate Iran’s advanced drone fleet. The strikes came after the base was brazenly used by Iran to send an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) into Israeli territory in February before it was quickly shot down by the Israeli military. The IDF revealed its investigation concluded the Iranian drone sent from T-4 was carrying explosives and seemingly deployed to attack an Israeli target.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.