TEL AVIV – Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday morning that the IDF destroyed “almost all of Iran’s military infrastructure sites in Syria” overnight in response to a rocket barrage on Israel’s north, and warned Tehran that attacks on Israeli territory will be met with “the strongest possible force.”
Liberman said that Israel has no interest in a conflict with Iran but will not accept any threat against it.
“If we get rain, you will get a flood,” he warned. “We will not let Iran use Syria as a base to attack us from.”
“The Iranians tried to attack the sovereign territory of Israel,” Liberman said. “Not one Iranian rocket landed in the State of Israel. Nobody was hurt. Nothing was damaged. And we’re to be thankful for that. We damaged nearly all of the Iranian infrastructure in Syria.”
But he added, “It’s not a stunning victory. Everything’s limited at the moment to a confrontation between us and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria. Everyone wants to limit this confrontation and keep it in this form.”
“We are not trying to aggravate or create a new front. The ones constantly trying to spread and build more proxies are Iran. We see them acting everywhere,” he said. “Iran is trying to create a new front with us. We will not let them use Syria as a base to attack us from.”
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan warned Iran that Israel is “not playing and not bluffing.”
“Tonight, we conveyed an important message to Iran and to the Assad regime: a message of determination and strength,” Erdan tweeted. “Israel will not cease to act against Iranian forces in Syria and will not forgive any attempt to attack the [Israeli] citizens of the north.”
“We will not allow the religious extremist regime in Tehran to build military power in Syria that presents a threat to the citizens of Israel. We hold the Syrian regime responsible for whatever happens on its soil,” he said.
“We are not playing and we are not bluffing. We are determined to do whatever is necessary to defend Israel.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said on Twitter, “Israel last night sent a clear message to its enemies and Iran: The rules of the game have changed. We will not tolerate any threat against the security of our citizens and we will not accept the buildup of hostile Iranian forces a short distance from border communities.”
Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, said, “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.”
Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) tweeted, “We will put the Iranian genie back into the bottle. If Iran looks for adventures in Syria, it will come up against determination and strength.”
Early Thursday, Israel hit dozens of Iranian targets in Syria in what the IDF said was the most extensive strike in Syria in decades. The air raids were carried out in response to a barrage of 20 rockets that were fired from Syria at Israeli military outposts. However, only four reached Israel and were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system. The rest fell in Syria.
Israel said it destroyed weapons depots, rocket launchers, logistics sites, observation posts, and intelligence centers used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards-Quds Force in Syria. It also said it destroyed several Syrian air-defense systems after coming under heavy fire.
The retaliatory attacks set back Iranian military capabilities in Syria by “many months,” the IDF said.