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Early yesterday morning (Australian time) we woke to the news that at least 20 rockets had been fired at Israeli sovereign territory by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force in Syria. Soon after, the IDF tweeted, “a number of rockets were intercepted by the IDF’s Iron Dome aerial defence system. No injuries were reported. The IDF views this event with great severity and remains prepared for a wide variety of scenarios”.
It was later revealed that none of the 20 rockets that were fired actually hit Israeli territory. Four of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome and the rest landed in Syrian territory.
The IDF stated, “This Iranian aggression is another proof of the intentions behind the establishment of the Iranian regime in Syria and the threat it poses to Israel and regional stability. The IDF will not allow the Iranian threat to establish itself in Syria. The Syrian regime will be held accountable for everything happening in its territory.”
The action Israel decided to take was to attack more than 50 Iranian targets. 28 Israeli fighter jets participated in the operation. IDF Spokesperson Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis said that it was “one of the greatest operations of the Israel Air Force in the past decade.”
He continued “The Quds Force paid a heavy price. It will take the Iranians a long time to rehabilitate.” Aside from hitting dozens of Quds Force targets in Syria, the IAF attack logistic headquarters, a military camp, intelligence posts and the rocket launcher from the attempted attack on Israel.
Military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said, “In terms of our purpose, we focused less on personnel and more on capabilities and hardware ... to inflict long-term damage on the Iranian military establishment in Syria. We assess it will take substantial time to replenish."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders went on Fox News where she said that the attempted attacks on the Golan Heights “is just further demonstration that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted and another good reminder that the president made the right decision to get out of the deal”.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Moscow yesterday, where it is believed he discussed the issue of Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It also believed that he forewarned him of what was about to take place in Syria.
Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman spoke earlier today at the Herzliya Conference where he warned that all Iranian attacks on Israeli territory would be met with “the strongest possible force… If we get rain, you will get a flood. We will not let Iran use Syria as a base to attack us from”. He continued, “we damaged nearly all of the Iranian infrastructure in Syria.”
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also commented, warning Iran that Israel is “not playing and not bluffing”. He tweeted “we will not hesitate to strike Iranian targets in Syria. We will hold Syria accountable for attacks from its territory”.
Meanwhile, Yair Lapid, chairman of Yesh Atid called on Israel’s allies to stand with Israel, tweeting, “Israel will not tolerate Iranian attacks on our sovereign territory. We expect our friends and allies to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. The world must be united in the fight against terrorism and that means being united against Iran and its terror proxies.”
The Times of Israel reports that “the overnight exchange was the largest-ever direct clash between the Iranian and Israeli militaries, and appeared to be the largest exchange involving Israel in Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War”.
At this stage, no Iranian officials have responded to the attack, but some of the Iranian media is reporting that Israeli military centres came under attack and that the Iron Dome failed to intercept the rockets. This, of course, we know to be false.
We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.
Emily Gian is the Media & Advocacy Director for the Zionist Federation of Australia.