TEL AVIV (JTA) — Iranian troops reportedly fired a barrage of 20 missiles at Israel, and Israel responded by bombing Iranian military targets in Syria.
The missiles were launched from Syria early Thursday morning. None of them hit Israel. Israel’s missile defense system intercepted four of them, and the rest landed in Syrian territory, according to Israeli news reports. No Israelis were hurt in the attack.
Israel is blaming the Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps for the attack.
A number of rockets were intercepted by the IDF’s Iron Dome aerial defense system. No injuries were reported. The IDF views this event with great severity and remains prepared for a wide variety of scenarios
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 9, 2018
In response, Israel bombed a range of Iranian military targets in Syria. This appears to be the first time Iranian forces have directly attacked Israel. For years, Iranian proxies have attacked Israel, but this time, Israel is directly blaming Iran for the attack.
The IDF has struck dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria in response to the Iranian rocket attack against Israel. Quds force is behind attack and has played the initial price. IDF remains ready for various scenarios but does not seek to escalate the situation pic.twitter.com/1h71zRIsuT
— Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite) May 10, 2018
According to Haaretz, Israel’s response attack in Syria was its most extensive since the end of the Yom Kippur War in 1974. Israel bombed weapons storehouses, logistics sites and intelligence centers, as well as Syrian missile defense systems. An IDF spokesperson called it one of the biggest Israeli Air Force operations of recent years.
“We hit almost all of the Iranian infrastructure in Syria,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday at the Herzliya Conference, a security and defense convention. “They should understand that if we get rain, they will get a flood.”
Israel and Iran have been at odds for years. Tensions between the two countries have escalated in recent months as Iran has entrenched itself in Syria, where it is a principal ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Israel has allegedly carried out countless strikes in Syria against Iranian infrastructure and weapons transfers to Syrian and Iranian proxies. In February, an Iranian drone was shot down over Israeli territory.
Fears of war have increased further in recent days, following President Donald Trump’s announcement Wednesday of the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. Anticipating a possible Iranian strike in retaliation for the decision, Israel told residents of the Golan Heights to open their bomb shelters Tuesday.
Israel is the United States’ closest ally in the region and has fiercely opposed the agreement, which rolled back Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. After the missile barrage Thursday, a U.S. State Department spokesperson told the Times of Israel that Israel has a right to defend itself.
““We are aware of reports that approximately 20 projectiles were launched into Israel,” the official said. “We stand with Israel in the fight against Iran’s malign activities and we strongly support Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself.”