Syria says Israel struck Quneitra, near border with Golan Heights

Unclear whether strike on al-Bariqa was by air or a surface-to-surface missile.

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August 1, 2019 21:23
3 minute read.
Quneitra

The Syrian area of Quneitra is seen in the background as an out-of-commission Israeli tank parks on a hill, near the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, in the Golan Heights.. (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)

Syria accused Israel of attacking a Syrian Army position on Thursday afternoon in Tel Bariqa, west of Quneitra on the Syrian Golan Heights.

According to Syria’s official news agency SANA, a missile struck the position causing material damage, but no casualties. Hebrew-language media reported that residents of the Israeli Golan Heights heard loud explosions.

While daytime strikes by Israel are rare, according to Saudi news TV channel Al Majd Hadith, the targets of the strike were Hezbollah terrorists who had been seen in the area. Although it remains unclear whether the strike was carried out by air or via a surface-to-surface missile, Israel has remained mum on the alleged strike.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to responsibility for the attack at a memorial ceremony for Revisionist Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky on Mount Herzl.

After saying that Israel “defends itself all the time,” and sending his good wishes to the IDF soldiers that were injured early Thursday morning after the IDF killed a terrorist who infiltrated from Gaza, Netanyahu turned to the north.

“On the northern front, we are working against Iran and Hezbollah, and you are hearing about it these days,” he said. “This is the iron wall,” he added, referring to Jabotinsky’s famous 1923 essay – “The Iron Wall” – in which Jabotinsky argued that the Arabs would only accept a Jewish presence in what is today Israel if they realize that they cannot defeat the Jews.

The Jewish State has made it clear that it won’t accept Hezbollah’s growing presence in the Syrian Golan, and the past two weeks alone has seen two deadly attacks against Iranian proxies in southern Syria that were attributed to Israel.

Last week an explosion killed Hezbollah terrorist Mashour Zidan in southern Syria, and a few days later, a rocket struck the strategic Tel Haraa site not far from where Zidan was killed. There were strikes on other targets in the Quneitra province as well.

Zidan, a Druze resident from the village of Hadar, is believed to have been a senior Hezbollah operative responsible for recruiting volunteers from villages near the border with Israel as part of Hezbollah’s Golan File.

Tel Haraa, meanwhile, has been used by the Syrian army for years to observe Israeli movement, and since the Assad regime re-took the area from rebels last summer, there have been several strikes on the site blamed on Israel.

While the base, which has electronic surveillance capabilities, was supposed to be manned solely by regime troops, pro-Iranian militias including Hezbollah are known to be stationed in it.

Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over Iran’s presence in Syria and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah from Tehran via Syria, stressing that both are redlines for Israel.

The IDF announced in April that Hezbollah has been building a new and dangerous terror network in Syria’s Golan Heights – without the knowledge of Syrian President Bashar Assad – under the leadership of Ali Mussa Daqduq, who spent five years in an Iraqi prison for a 2007 attack against American troops in the Karbala Governorate.

“The Hezbollah terrorist organization has begun an attempt to establish and entrench a covert force in the Syrian Golan Heights that is designed to act against Israel when given the order,” the IDF said.

The Golan Project has its headquarters in Damascus and Beirut. There are dozens of Hezbollah terrorists operating in the Syrian towns of Hadar, Quinetra and Erneh, who collect intelligence on Israel and military movement on the Israeli Golan Heights.

But the strikes against Iranian proxies are no longer restricted to Syria. According to the London-based Asharq al-Awsat, Israel allegedly struck an Iranian warehouse at Camp Ashraf northeast of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, which stored arms and missiles. They alleged that the two strikes against the warehouse – on July 19 and on July 27 – were by an Israeli F-35i Adir stealth fighter jet.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.



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