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An Israeli Merkava battle tank takes part in an August military drill at the Golan Heights, near Israel's border with Syria, where Israel said Syria planted improvised explosive device. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

The Israeli Air Force conducted air strikes Tuesday night on Syrian army and Iranian Quds Force targets near Damascus — hours after several improvised explosive devices were discovered on the Israeli side of the border in the Golan Heights.

Why it matters: Tuesday marked the second time in three months that explosive devices were discovered on the Israeli side of the border. Israel claims Iran's Quds Force is using pro-Iranian militias and local Syrian operatives to open a front with Israel in the Golan and engage in attacks on Israeli forces.

Driving the news: An Israeli Defense Force spokesperson said Israel's air force jets attacked the headquarters of the 7th division of the Syrian army near the Golan Heights, from where he said the Iranian forces operate.

  • Other targets were a military base near Damascus international airport that is operated by Iranian forces and another military site near Damascus where Iranian officers live, he added.
  • The Israeli Air Force also attacked Syrian army surface to air missile batteries.
  • The state-run Syrian news agency said three Syrian soldiers were killed in the airstrikes and one was wounded.  

What's next: Israeli officials expect the Iranian forces to continue with attempts to attack near the border using their local proxies.

  • Israeli officials said they believe the Syrian government is also responsible for the attacks against Israel from its territory.

Go deeper

Nov 27, 2020 - World

Iran confirms assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe

The Iranian ministry of defense issued a statement on Friday confirming the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadhe, an Iranian scientist and the architect behind the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Fakhrizadhe was the head of the Amad project in the Iranian ministry of defense, which focused on developing a nuclear bomb until 2003.

25 mins ago - Health

U.S. exceeds 100,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time

People wait outside the Emergency room of the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, California on Dec 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

More than 100,200 Americans were hospitalized as of Wednesday due to the coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The milestone comes as health officials anticipated cases to surge due to holiday travel and gatherings. The impact of the holiday remains notable, as many states across the country are only reporting partial data.

4 hours ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”

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