Israel strikes at Iranian forces in Syria to foil attack, says military

Israeli military spokesman says forces were preparing to launch 'killer drones' armed with explosives at northern Israel

Sderot  - May 2nd ,  2008 - An Isreali flag flies  in the centre of Sderot ,Southern Israel , The small town has frequent rocket  attacks from Gaza  ( Andrew Parsons  /  The National ) *** Local Caption *** ap008-0205-sderot.jpg
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Israeli aircraft struck Iranian forces near Damascus that were planning to launch armed drones at targets, according to an Israeli military spokesman on Saturday.

"The strike targeted Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militias which were preparing to advance attack plans targeting sites in Israel from within Syria over the last number of days," the Israeli military said in a statement.

Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters the forces were preparing to launch "killer drones" armed with explosives at northern Israel, Reuters said.

Syrian state media said that Syrian air defences intercepted "hostile targets" over the capital Damascus on Saturday night.

Witnesses in Damascus said they heard and saw explosions in the sky.

"The aggression is ongoing and air defences are confronting hostile targets and are downing most of them in the southern region," state media outlet Sana said, indicating areas south of Damascus.

The Syrian army said that "the majority of the Israeli missiles were destroyed before reaching their targets".

But a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander denied that Iranian targets had been hit in the Israeli air strikes near Damascus, the semi-official ILNA news agency reported.

"This is a lie and not true. … Israel and the United States do not have the power to attack Iran's various centres, and our [military] advisory centres have not been harmed," said IRGC Maj Gen Mohsen Rezaei, who is also the secretary of a powerful state body, ILNA reported. — Additional reporting from agencies