During the early pre-dawn hours of Thursday, the Israeli air force reportedly pounded several proxy Iranian militia targets according to the Syrian government. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 12 militiamen were killed.

The Syrian military released a statement through the Syrian state news agency SANA claiming that they downed a number of missiles. “Our air defenses confronted an Israeli attack” west of the capital, SANA reported, adding that the attack was carried out from the airspace in the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. However, most defense analysts routinely dismiss such claims as bluster. 

Television reports showed explosions in the air over Damascus as Syrian air defense missiles exploded in the air. 

Residents reported that the supposed Israeli strikes hit about 01:15 a.m. and targeted the al-Kiswah district — a known Iranian operational hub — outside of Damascus as well as Marj al-Sultan and Jisr Baghdad. Israel has in the past admitted targeting targets in Syria as it has been clear that it will not tolerate any Iranian bases on their border. 

SANA reported that at least three government and Iranian positions near Damascus were targeted.

As is the official policy of Israel, it didn’t assume or decline responsibility for the attacks. IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said he was aware of the “foreign reports” about airstrikes in Syria but wouldn’t confirm or deny the report. 

The Israeli government has accused Iran of setting up these proxy groups to attack Israel. Its policy is to respond to any attack coming from Syria: They’ve conducted hundreds of retaliatory strikes and have targeted Syrian air defense units that have fired on Israeli aircraft. The Iranian-led militias, including Hezbollah, have been frequently targeted in recent months as the violence has escalated. 

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, violence has increased with three Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in Jenin. In Jerusalem, a terrorist suspect driving a KIA ran over 12 Israeli soldiers in the First Station area. One of the soldiers is in serious condition. According to reports, the terrorist suspect saw the group of soldiers marching next to the street carrying out normal military activities when the car sped toward them and attempted to mow them all down. The terrorist abandoned his car and escaped on foot. He was described by witnesses as a Palestinian. The other 11 soldiers were only slightly wounded.