JERUSALEM (CNN) # Israeli military attacked a training camp used by Palestinian terrorists in Syria, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday morning.
The camp, said to be deep inside Syria, was used for training by “many terror organizations,” including Islamic Jihad, the IDF said.
A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad denied there were any Islamic Jihad training bases in Syria. He said they engage in no military activities outside of the Palestinian territories.
This attack came late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, just hours after a terrorist suicide bombing in Haifa, Israel, on Saturday afternoon killed 19 people.
Israeli government spokesman Ra’anan Gissin said the camp was just 10 miles from the Syrian capital Damascus. Gissin disputed the Islamic Jihad claim to have no camps in Syria.
“We will take whatever measure is necessary to defend our citizens regardless of geographical location of these training camps,” Gissin said.
Israel, he said, decided “to enlarge the scope of our operation against the Islamic Jihad and Hamas.”
The attack, Gissin said, sends a message to Syria and Iran to end their support for terrorism against Israel.
“We will not tolerate the continuation of this axis of terror between Tehran, Damascus and Gaza to continue to operate and kill innocent men, women and children,” he said.
Terror in Haifa
Nineteen people died and at least 50 people were wounded Saturday when a female suicide bomber walked into the popular Arab-owned restaurant, Maxim, at the southern entrance of Haifa, a Mediterranean port city.
Much of the restaurant, which police said was filled with families and had a security guard, was destroyed.
Shortly after Saturday’s terrorist attack in Haifa, an Israeli Apache helicopter fired at least two rockets at a house in Gaza City, Palestinian sources said.
The house belonged to Rezik Kamita, who security sources said belongs to either Islamic Jihad or Hamas. Kamita’s son is a member of Hamas’ military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, and was targeted by Israeli forces a few weeks ago in Gaza City, the sources said.
There was no one inside the house at the time, sources said. There was no information on deaths or injuries.
Israelis also launched a second airstrike at the Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, security sources said. They fired five rockets at a home, and one person was left slightly injured, sources said.
Tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians have heightened in recent weeks after a string of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis and deadly Israeli strikes on Palestinian extremist group members that also have killed and wounded Palestinian bystanders.
Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist group, is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. Izzedine al Qassam has admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians as well as attacks against the Israeli military.
Islamic Jihad, a militant group dedicated to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel, has carried out military operations against Israeli soldiers and civilians. It is also considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.