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Israel downs flying object from Syria as Iran vows revenge

Israel has struck Syria three times in the past four days, killing officers in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Israeli soldiers take part in a military exercise near the town of Katzrin, in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on the border with Syria, on September 21, 2022. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP) (Photo by JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel downed an unidentified flying object from Syria on Sunday, after firing missiles at Syrian and Iran-backed military targets earlier in the day. Tensions are high after several suspected Israeli attacks on Syria in recent days. 

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Avichay Adraee said on Twitter at 3:04 p.m. ET that an “unknown air piece” entered Israeli airspace from Syria. The object was downed and “did not pose any danger at any point,” according to him. 

The incident followed a suspected Israeli missile attack on Syria early Sunday morning. Syria’s official news outlet SANA reported that Israel fired missiles at targets in the central city of Homs and surrounding areas, injuring five Syrian army personnel. Syrian air defenses shot down some of the missiles, according to SANA. 

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the suspected Israeli attack on Sunday hit a weapons warehouse used by the Iran-backed Lebanese military organization Hezbollah. Two “Iranian-backed militiamen” were killed, while five Syrian air defense soldiers were injured, according to the observatory. 

Why it matters: Israel rarely confirms its military operations in foreign territory, but is suspected of carrying out three attacks on Syria in the past four days. In addition to Sunday’s strikes, Israel allegedly struck Syrian and Iran-backed forces on Thursday and Friday. 

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) originally said one of its officers — Milad Heidari — was killed in Friday’s attack. On Sunday, the IRGC said another officer — Capt. Meqdad Mahqani Jafarabadi — was killed in the attack. Jafarabadi was serving as a military adviser in Syria, according to the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency. 

The flying object entering Israeli airspace follows Iran vowing to avenge the deaths of the IRGC officers. After the news of the death of Jafarabadi, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said "the blood of these noble martyrs will not be wasted” in a statement. 

Know more: Late last month, the US military and Iran-backed forces in Syria struck one another’s positions. The tit-for-tat exchanges began after the US military said an “Iranian origin” drone attacked one of its bases in the country. The US military said it killed eight Iran-backed fighters in its strikes. 

The military escalation in Syria comes as Arab leaders are seeking a rapprochement with its President Bashar al-Assad. Reuters reported on Sunday that the Syrian ruler will be invited to the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia next month, 11 years after Damascus was expelled from the regional organization. 

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