Israel targeted more than 50 Iranian targets in Syria in what the IDF said was the most extensive strike in the neighboring country in decades and “a great success”. The strikes were carried out in response to a barrage of 20 rockets fired from Syria at IDF positions in northern Israel.
The rocket barrage was fired from Syria at around midnight Thursday. Shortly after reports of Israeli strikes in Quneitra in the Golan Heights, Code Red sirens sounded in communities in the north and center of the Golan Heights in northern Israel, sending residents into bomb shelters.
The Golan Regional Council released a statement saying that several towns in the Golan were targeted by rocket fire and that residents of those towns are requested to stay in shelters until notified otherwise.
IDF Spokesperson Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis said Thursday morning that none of the 20 rockets fired by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force hit Israeli territory. Four of the rockets, he said, were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system and the rest landed on Syrian territory.
In response, the IDF attacked more than 50 Iranian targets in what Manelis defined as “one of the greatest operations of the Israel Air Force in the past decade.”
“The Quds Force paid a heavy price. It will take the Iranians a long time to rehabilitate,” the IDF spokesperson said.
“The IDF has been engaged in a wide-scale disruption operation against an attempt by the Quds Force to carry out an offensive against Israel,” Manelis said. “We have operated several times against ticking Iranian bombs and have succeeded in preventing a number of terror attacks and Iranian strikes in the past month.”
The IDF spokesperson added that “the Quds Force, led by Qassem Suleimani, targeted us and failed to achieve the desired outcome. At the Quds Force’s orders, and under Iranian command in the attack’s command and control circles, about 20 rockets were fired by Hezbollah experts and Shiite militias with Iranian weapons, and none of them hit Israeli territory. Four of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome and the rest landed on Syrian territory. The fired weapons were Grads and Fajr-5 rockets from a vehicle about 30 to 40 kilometers from the suburbs of Damascus.”
He added that “there were no injuries and not a single post sustained damage. The rest of the reports are false. This is an achievement resulting from a proper preparation of the air defense system and of the IDF forces. It’s a success, but we’re prepared for other options. This Iranian operation is a shameless act by Iran and the Quds Force.”
According to Manelis, in addition to dozens of Quds Force targets in Syria, the IAF also attacked logistic headquarters, a military camp and intelligence posts.
“We attacked the vehicle that launched the rockets at Israel. All the targets were destroyed and all our planes return to Israel safely despite significant anti aircraft barrages fired by the Syrian army. We also struck five batteries of the Syrian anti aircraft system, which fired dozens of missiles at our planes,” the IDF spokesperson said.
“We warned the Syrian army not to intervene. This night reflects what we are preparing for the future. The Quds Force chose to act against the State of Israel in the wrong place. We won’t accept an Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the Quds Force has paid a very heavy price. Any further attempt by the Quds Force to target Israel will be met with a very heavy price.”
The General Staff, Manelis added, has been conducting evaluations of the situation with IDF commanders on a daily basis in the past month.
“We are not seeking a deterioration and we are prepared for what happens next. Tonight we thwarted Iranian abilities that threatened the State of Israel and we have abilities that have yet to be implemented. If the Syrians allow direct activity against Israel they will pay a price. It will take the Iranians a long time to rebuild the operational, military and intelligence infrastructure we hit tonight. We informed the Russians about this activity in advance.”