Israeli missiles have hit a military outpost near the Syrian capital Damascus killing nine people, an hour after US President Donald Trump exited a 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Syria’s state-run media agency SANA says Syrian air defences intercepted and destroyed two of the incoming missiles which were fired at Kisweh, just south of the capital, an area known to have numerous Syrian army bases.
Syrian television also reported large explosions in the area.
The British based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says says the missiles targeted depots and rocket launchers that likely belong to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
The group, which monitors the Syria war through a network of activists on the ground, said it was not clear whether those killed were Revolutionary Guard members or members of a pro-Iranian militia. The report could not be independently confirmed.
An official with the Iran-led regional alliance supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad said the strike targeted a Syrian army position, but killed a Syrian man and his wife who happened to be passing by in their car.
He said there were jets in the sky but it was likely the position was targeted by surface-to-surface missiles from the Golan Heights.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to give official statements.
There was no immediate comment from Israel, which almost never confirms or denies air strikes in Syria.
Such strikes have become more frequent recently, amid soaring tensions between regional archenemies Israel and Iran.
The decision was met with concern from America’s NATO allies and support from Israel, amid warnings the decision is likely to raise the risk of conflict in the Middle East and disrupt global oil supplies.
The Israeli army instructed authorities in the Golan Heights, in the north of the country, to open civilian shelters after detecting what it called “irregular activity” of Iranian forces in Syria.
The Israel Army statement warned that “any aggression against Israel will be met with a severe response”.
“If there is an attack it might not be immediately clear it’s Iran,” one official was quoted as saying.