The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) shared a video on Twitter on Sunday that appears to show the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system intercepting an incoming rocket over the heads of skiers at the Mount Hermon ski resort in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The video shows skiers and snowboarders going about their day, until the person holding the camera spots the missile defense interceptors firing in the distance and flying through the sky directly overhead.
This is what’s been happening:
On Sunday, Iranian Quds Forces operating in Syria launched a surface-to-surface rocket from Syria aimed at Israel’s Golan Heights. The Iron Dome Aerial Defense System intercepted the rocket. pic.twitter.com/P7yvkpR6An
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) January 21, 2019
According to an official statement released by the IDF, the inbound missile was fired by Iranian forces operating out of nearby Syria. Based on the location of the video and accompanying statement, it seems clear that the missile was being fired into the Golan Heights, a region Israel annexed in the early 1980s, despite a significant backlash from some elements of the international community.
After this incident, Israel stated, it launched a counter-offensive against Iranian Qud forces which Israel claims were attempting to entrench themselves in Syria. Iran’s Qud Forces are elite units within Iran’s Revolutionary Guard tasked with unconventional warfare and intelligence-gathering operations, not entirely unlike special operations troops employed by many nations around the world. According to Israel’s statements, the response to this missile attack included strikes at munition storage facilities, training camps, intelligence-gathering operations, and the international airport in Damascus, Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Israeli strikes killed 11 fighters in all, including two Syrians who were presumably working alongside Iranian troops. Both the attack in the video and the subsequent Israeli response came with a slew of statements in the media issued by both Syrian and Israeli officials claiming to have fended off rocket and missile attacks using their respective missile defense systems. It’s worth noting that Syria previously reported intercepting nearly all inbound missiles during a U.S.-led strike against facilities tied to Bashar al Assad’s use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. Both open source and government-based intelligence outlets determined Syria’s claims regarding the efficacy of its missile defenses to be untrue–prompting questions about the claims on Monday as well.
For its part, Israel has made no apologies for engaging Syrian assets along with Iranian targets.
“We hold the Syrian regime responsible for everything taking place within Syria and warn them against targeting Israel or permitting others to target Israel from their soil,” the IDF said in a statement. “We are prepared for all scenarios and will continue operating as needed to defend Israeli civilians.”