Shots fired towards Israeli communities in the Golan

Israel retaliated for the attack, military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said, without elaborating.

Israel's military went on high alert Tuesday and bomb shelters were ordered open in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights following reports of "irregular activity of Iranian forces in Syria".

Israel's top general, Gadi Eizenkott, cancelled a scheduled appearance at an annual security conference and was conferring with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and other national security chiefs, officials said. Hours later, state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast a live feed of Syrian air defences firing into the sky above the capital, and loud explosions and air defence firing were heard through the night.

Social media users report that Israeli tanks have fired at positions in Syria, Israeli air sorties have been initiated, and that Syrian artillery is shelling Israeli targets.

Last month, an attack on Syria's T4 air base in Homs province killed seven Iranian military personnel. Repeated airstrikes attributed to Israel have killed Iranian fighters and prompted threats of reprisal from Tehran.

Incoming rocket sirens were activated early Thursday morning in Israel's northern Golan Heights communities of Majdal Shams, Neve Ativ, Nimrod, Masa'ade, Buqa'ata, Odem, and El Rom. Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a moved no recognised internationally.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Moscow on Wednesday to meet with President Vladimir Putin and discuss military co-ordination in Syria.

A number of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and no Israeli injuries were reported, according to the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF. Israel responded by attacking anti-aircraft positions in Syria, but an Israeli warplane was shot down during the battle.

On Twitter, Lieberman said he had spoken to his US counterpart James Mattis and "updated him on regional developments". "We strongly support Israel's sovereign right to defend itself", he said.

Russia, generally friendly to Israel but fighting in Syria's civil war on the same side as Iran, called on both to show restraint and resolve differences through diplomatic means. Israel has warned that it will not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence in Syria.

Most of that purported evidence dated to the period before the 2015 accord was signed, although Netanyahu said Iran had also kept important files on nuclear technology since then and continued adding to its "nuclear weapons knowledge".

On Tuesday night the military instructed local governments to open bomb shelters to residents of the Golan Heights following the identification of "abnormal movements of Iranian forces in Syria". "They are determined to do it and we are determined to prevent it".

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