The Slatest

Iran and Israel Reportedly Exchange Direct Rocket Fire for the First Time

An Israeli artillery unit takes position near the Syrian border in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on May 9, 2018.
An Israeli artillery unit takes position near the Syrian border in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on May 9, 2018. JALAA MAREY/Getty Images

Iranian and Israeli forces exchanged fire early Thursday morning, according to the Israeli military, which said it retaliated with missile strikes after Iran launched 20 missiles targeting Israeli military positions in the Golan Heights. “Heavy military jet activity, explosions and air-defense fire could be heard throughout the night in the area,” the Washington Post reports.

According to the Israeli military, the rockets were fired by special forces linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, a move, which, if confirmed, would mark an ominous milestone—the first time Iran has carried out a rocket attack directly on Israel. The two countries have been conducting a proxy war in Syria under the guise of the country’s ongoing civil war.

Israel has reported no known casualties and minimal damage as a result of the rocket attack; a portion of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. “Israel had been bracing for a retaliatory attack from Syrian territory after a number of deadly strikes against Iranian targets [in the Golan Heights],” the New York Times reports. “But analysts said the Iranians had been restrained from striking back while awaiting President Trump’s decision on whether to withdraw the United States from the nuclear agreement with Iran.”

“In the early hours of Thursday morning, the IDF’s Arabic-language Twitter account said its military was ‘moving’ against Iranian targets in Syria and warned Damascus not to intervene,” the Guardian reports. “Syrian state media said anti-air defenses were responding to a ‘new wave of Israeli missiles and is dropping them one by one.’ It said shells fired from Israel hit southern Syria’s Quneitra province, adjacent to the Golan Heights.”