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Israel sends 'message' to Iran with early morning air strikes of targets in Syria

Aerial assaults come day after IDF finds land mines planted along border between Israel and Syria

Israel launched air strikes against eight Iranian targets in Syria early Wednesday morning in a message to both countries to cease their activity against Israel or expect worse.

The attacks came after Israel Defense Forces discovered anti-personnel mines planted on the border between Syria and Israel on Tuesday where Israeli soldiers regularly conduct patrols.

IDF Spokesman Jonathan Conricus told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that Syria and Iran must understand Israel will not accept actions that endanger "troops and violate our sovereignty."

"The aim here is to send a clear message to the Iranian guests and the Syrian hosts that nether of their activities are accepted by us," he said. "This is the second time in four months that Syrian operatives, guided by Iran, tried to plant IEDs on our border and we will not tolerate it."

The IDF said the anti-personnel mines were probably planted several weeks ago by local Syrians under the command of Iran's Quds Force. The devices were disarmed on Tuesday.

"We are sending a clear message today that if they try to do this kind of attacks against our troops and violate our sovereignty, these are the consequences."

"And, of course, we have the ability to inflict more severe consequences," Conricus added.

IEDs found on Israeli border with Syria (Photo: IDF)

Israeli fighter jets targeted four sites near Damascus and another four along the Golan border. Syria's state-run news agency SANA reported that three people were killed.

"At about 03:11 a.m. on Wednesday, the Israeli enemy launched an aerial aggression from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan that targeted the southern region as the Syrian air defenses confronted it and downed a number of rockets," a military source told the Syrian news agency.

The IDF said it targeted facilities controlled by the Quds Force, a military branch tasked with "exporting" the Islamic revolution; a Syrian military base; and several Syrian anti-aircraft batteries that fired at them.

Conricus said the Iranian entrenchment in Syria must be stopped and "it is within the interests of Syria to stop and not to allow Iran to use Syria as its stepping stone or launch pad to conduct attacks against Israel."

The IDF rarely publicly acknowledges such attacks, but is believed to have launched hundreds of similar strikes in Syria since 2011 in order to extricate Iran's military presence in the region.

“We have long been prepared for the possibility of terror attacks in the northern sector,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said. “The IDF has the capabilities and the determination to respond severely to any incident both on the Lebanese and Syrian fronts... I say clearly: Syria is responsible for what occurs on its territory.”

Israel has deployed its anti-missile defense system, Iron Dome, in the North and placed ground troops on high alert.

The IDF wryly noted on Twitter that Iran should confine its activities to its own neighborhood.

"Israel and Iran don't share a border. In fact, Tehran is 1,000 miles from Jerusalem," the Israel Defense Forces posted on its Twitter account. "So why did an Iranian-led Syrian squad plant this IED on the Israel-Syria border? Because Iran's terror knows no border. Luckily, we're here to stop them."

Israeli soldiers operating on the Syrian border (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
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