Israeli jets carried out strikes on several Syrian military bases on Tuesday night, where there is a significant Iranian presence, Syrian media reported.
According to Syrian regime sources, two Israeli missiles were downed near the al-Kiswah industrial zones near the capital of Damascus which were targeting a weapons convoy at the base.
A commander in the regional alliance supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Reuters that Israel's air force had struck an army base at Al-Kiswah without causing casualties.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported later that nine fighters belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or pro-Iranian Shiite militias were killed in the attack.
Asked about those statements, an Israeli military spokeswoman said: "We do not respond to such foreign reports."
Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman held security consultations with the heads of the defense establishment at the Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Liberman spoke with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and thanked him for President's Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran and briefed him on recent development in the region.
The military instructed local governments on Tuesday to open bomb shelters to residents of the Golan Heights following the identification of “abnormal movements of Iranian forces in Syria.”
The army also said it raised preparedness of “troops for an attack” and deployed air defenses in the north of the country.
Security measures taken in the Northern Command by the IDF after identifying rregular activity of Iranian forces in Syria, May 8, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
“The IDF’s instructions should continue to be obeyed as necessary,” read the statement by the IDF Spokespersons Unit. “The IDF is prepared and prepared for a variety of scenarios and warns that any action against Israel will be responded to harshly.”
While some bomb shelters in the area were opened prior to Tuesday’s announcement, the significant change witnessed by the military led to a decision that authorities open all bomb shelters and to inform residents of the increased tension in the area.
There has been no change in situation in the other areas of the north and there is no need to remain in the shelters.
Iran, according to intelligence, is thought to be determined to carry out an attack on Israel, and to be in the advanced planning stages, and may soon execute the strike that it had vowed to carry out in retaliation for an alleged Israel Air Force strike two months ago on the Assad regime’s T-4 airbase near Homs that is used by the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.
On Sunday, it became known that the IDF had uncovered involvement by Hezbollah commanders, under the command of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in a planned attack on IDF military positions using precision-guided missiles or armed drones launched from a base in Syria.
Despite the IDF upping its preparedness troops for an attack and deploying air defense in the north of the country, there has been no nationwide call of reserve soldiers and only those serving in specific roles in the military have received an emergency reserve call up.
Hezbollah is considered by the IDF as the most substantial threat, with hundreds of thousands of rockets aimed at Israel, and many of them able to strike anywhere in the country. While most of them have a range of just 45 km., the army has said it expects, in the next war, a bombardment of more than a thousand rockets in one day alone.
It is thought that Israel’s electronic systems may also be targeted. That threat was identified by the IDF Home Front Command, which recently instructed civilians to have on hand portable radios with spare batteries, bottled water and electrical chargers.
In February, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman accused the Finance Ministry of dragging its feet in funding the implementation of a 2014 cabinet decision to increase protection for the home front, especially for communities in the North, which he said was severely lacking compared to southern Israel.
“We are dealing with a matter that is all about saving lives,” the defense minister said, urging local authorities to demand that the government implement decisions taken in 2014 to allocate NIS 150 million annually for 10 years in order close the protection gaps throughout the country.Jpost Staff contributed to this report.