US troops in eastern Syria were placed on high alert, it is believed, following the Israeli assassination of an IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) officer in Damascus.
An Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards officer, Milad Heydari identified as an adviser, was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Damascus shortly after midnight on Friday, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
The IRGC threatened to avenge the officer’s death.
Syria’s state news agency SANA previously reported that Syrian air defenses intercepted “hostile missiles” over the capital just after midnight, although the “aggression” managed to cause some material damage. Damascus regularly claims to successfully intercept IDF attacks, but military analysts doubt these claims.
Citing unnamed sources, Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya reported that the attack targeted microchips for missile guidance and was not targeted at IRGC personnel.
There are concerns from Israel about shipments to Syria of chips, which could be used by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah to develop precision-guided missiles.
As a general rule, the Israeli military does not comment on specific attacks in Syria, but acknowledges carrying out hundreds of raids against Iranian-backed groups trying to gain a foothold in the country over the past decade.
The IDF says it also targets arms shipments believed to be destined for these groups, chief among them Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist organization. In addition, air strikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.