JERUSALEM -- Israel’s air force attacked Syrian military positions early Wednesday in response to a bomb attack against troops near the border, the Israeli army said in a statement.
The strike was aimed at a number of targets belonging to the Syrian army, including a training facility, military headquarters and artillery batteries.
The army said the targets had “aided and abetted the attack” against Israeli personnel.
After the explosion, Israel responded with artillery, and reportedly launched camera-guided Tamuz missiles at Syrian army targets.
A spokesman for Israel’s military, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, called the attack against Israeli troops an “unacceptable escalation of violence from Syria.” In a statement following the airstrike, Lerner said the army would not tolerate any threat to Israeli civilians or troops and would act to “prevent, protect and defend against hostilities from Syria.”
Tuesday’s explosion was the latest in a series of incidents along Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria, but the first to cause Israeli casualties. Israel's military said it held Syria responsible for the bombing.
After the incident, Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had maintained calm since the civil war in Syria began three years ago but would not hesitate to take “forceful action” to defend the security of Israelis.
He also noted that mlitants, including members of Hezbollah, along Israel’s northern borders were “posing a new challenge for Israel.”
Analysts say Hezbollah has been seeking to settle a score with Israel since an airstrike in late February that targeted its bases and possibly weapons along the Lebanese-Syrian border.
The strike was attributed to Israel, which has not admitted to the attack or others attributed to it.