Israel Strikes Syria After Rare Rocket Attack On Golan Heights
On the heels of the most intense exchange of fire across the Israel-Lebanon border since 2006, violence erupted on a different front over Saturday night, as a rare rocket attack on the Israel-occupied Golan Heights was carried out by Palestinian militants in Syria.
The Al Quds Brigade claimed responsibility, according to a Beirut television station. The Palestinian militia headquartered in Damascus said the volley of rockets was an act of retaliation for a brutal Israeli police raid on the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem earlier in the week.
Israeli responded with waves of artillery fire, drone strikes and apparent missile strikes in Syria. The initial counter-strikes targeted rocket launchers, while later attacks hit an area near the Syrian capital, Damascus. Syria said its air defenses intercepted some Israeli missiles, but acknowledged that others caused unspecified damage.
Israel said it also targeted a compound of Syria’s 4th Division, and Syrian Army radar and artillery sites. The IDF said it “views the Syrian state as responsible for everything happening in its territory and will not enable attempts to violate Israel’s sovereignty,” according to the Times of Israel.
Of six rockets fired, two fell short and landed in Syrian territory, one landed in nearby Jordan three landed in Israel, according to the IDF. There were no reports of damage or casualties.
While it’s not clear what kind of rockets were used, the poor performance suggests they were crude Qassam rockets — often derisively likened to bottle rockets — that are the principal weapon used by Palestinian militias in cross-border strikes.
Here’s how the head of the team that developed Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system once described them:
“Qassam rockets are comprised of make-shift components, and their trajectories are very ‘wobbly’ rather than smooth. Imagine a Coke bottle flying several times faster than the speed of sound on an irregular course.”
Of course, that’s not to say they can’t kill people or cause property damage in the relatively rare instances in which they actually hit something.
With these latest strikes, the Syrian-based Al Quds Brigade’s joins other Palestinian militias who’ve already launched rockets at Israel after Tuesday night’s Israeli police raid on the Al Aqsa mosque, which is Islam’s third most-revered site. Police smashed windows and brutally beat worshippers who’d locked themselves inside.
In the wake of the raid — which earned condemnation from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — Palestinian militants in both Gaza and southern Lebanon fired rockets at Israel, prompting retaliatory attacks by the IDF.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 War. It unilaterally annexed it in 1981, prompting the UN Security Council to adopt Resolution 497, demanding that Israel rescind the annexation, as “the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible” under the UN Charter and “the principles of international law.”
In 2019, President Trump recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, as he steadily worked his way through a checklist of foreign policy aspirations of billionaire mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, which most notably included moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Sun, 04/09/2023 – 12:00