Israel attacks more than 50 Iranian targets in Syria after Iran targets Israeli bases إسرائيل دمرت 40 هدف إيراني في سوريا
Yoav Zitun/Reuters//Ynetnews/May 10/18
IDF Spokesperson says none of the 20 rockets fired by Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force hit Israeli territory; four rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome system and the rest landed on Syrian territory. ‘The Quds Force paid a heavy price,’ says Brig. Gen. Manelis, defining Israeli response as ‘one of the greatest operations of the Israel Air Force in the past decades.’
Iranian forces in Syria launched a rocket attack on Israeli army bases in the Golan Heights early on Thursday, Israel said, prompting one of the heaviest Israeli barrages in Syria since the conflict there began in 2011.
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.”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 antiaircraft barrages fired by the Syrian army. We also struck five batteries of the Syrian antiaircraft system, which fired dozens of missiles at our planes,” the IDF spokesperson said.
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.”
“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.”
The attack on the Golan Heights, just past midnight, marked the first time Iranian forces have hit Israel from Syria, where they have deployed along with Iran-backed Shiite militias and Russian troops to support President Bashar Assad in the seven-year-old civil war.
The Iranian attack Wednesday night activated air raid sirens in the Golan Regional Councils, prompting residents to enter bomb shelters.
Syrian state media said dozens of Israeli missile strikes hit a radar station, Syrian air defense positions and an ammunition dump, underscoring the risks of a wider escalation involving Iran and its regional allies.
Israel struck back by destroying dozens of Iranian military sites in Syria, military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters, as well as Syrian anti-aircraft units that tried unsuccessfully to shoot down Israeli planes.
“We do not know yet the (Iranian) casualty count,” he said.
“But I can say that 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.”
Golan Regional Council head Avi Malka said Thursday morning that after a status evaluation it has been decided to have no changes to the school schedule in the Golan Heights. The shuttle services and public transportation will operate as usual in the area. The Golan Heights farmers have been instructed to proceed as usual as well. The operations center in the council and nearby communities remain in constant contact with the IDF.
The Israelis fear that Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah are turning Syria into a new front against them. Israel says its occasional strikes in Syria aim to foil that.
Iran vowed retaliation after a suspected Israeli air strike last month killed seven of its military personnel in a Syrian air base.
Israel regards Iran as its biggest threat, and has repeatedly targeted Iranian forces and allied militia in Syria.
Expectations of a regional flare-up were stoked by US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal. Hours later, Israeli rocket rockets targeted a military base in Kisweh, a commander in the pro-Syrian government regional alliance said.
That attack killed 15 people, including eight Iranians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, though the commander said there were no casualties. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility.
The Trump administration cast its hard tack against the Iranian nuclear deal as a response, in part, to Tehran’s military interventions in the region.
White House press secretary in Fox News interview
The Golan flare-up with Israel “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 Iran deal,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News.
The tensions worry Russia, which wants to stabilize Syria.
Thursday’s flare-up came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from a visit to Moscow, where he discussed Syria concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Conricus said Israel forewarned Russia of its strikes on Thursday, which Syrian state media first reported hit Baath City in Quneitra, near the border. Further waves of missiles followed. Syrian state media said Israeli missiles had been brought down over Damascus, Homs and Sueida.
“Air defenses confronted tens of Israeli rockets and some of them reached their target and destroyed one of the radar sites,” Syrian state news agency SANA reported, citing a military source. Another rocket hit an ammunition warehouse, it said.Syrian state television was broadcasting footage of its air defenses firing, and playing patriotic songs. Damascus residents described explosions in the sky from air defense systems.
Israeli media said residents of Metula, on the Lebanese border, had been instructed to go to bomb shelters. There was no official confirmation.
Lebanon’s National News Agency reported Israeli jets circling over Lebanese territory early on Thursday before exiting.
Bahrain: Israel has ‘right’ to respond to Iran البحرين تؤكد حق إسرائيل بالرد على إيران
Arab Gulf country’s foreign minister tweets that so long as Iran uses its forces and missiles to try and destabilize the region, ‘it is the right of any country in the region, including Israel, to defend itself by destroying sources of danger’; White House says Iran’s Revolutionary Guard ‘bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions.’
A top official from the Arab Gulf country of Bahrain is defending what he says is Israel’s “right” to defend itself after Israel launched overnight strikes on Iranian targets in Syria. Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa wrote on Twitter Thursday that so long as Iran uses its forces and missiles to try and destabilize the region, “it is the right of any country in the region, including Israel to defend itself by destroying sources of danger.”Israel says Iranian rocket attacks on Israeli positions in the Golan Heights prompted the overnight strikes. Iran has not commented on the accusations. Bahrain, a close US ally, considers Iran a regional threat. The tiny island-nation accuses its Persian Gulf neighbor of arming and training Shiite Bahraini protesters with the aim of destabilizing the Sunni-ruled country. Bahrain has also welcomed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear accord with Iran.
The United States on Thursday condemned Iran’s “provocative rocket attacks” from Syria and supported Israel’s right to defend itself. “The Iranian regime’s deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East,” the White House said in a statement. It said Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron called for de-escalation in the Middle East.
Merkel and Macron met in Aachen, Germany Thursday on the sidelines of a ceremony where Macron was awarded a prize for contributions to European unity. The German government said they discussed events in the Middle East and called for “level-headedness and de-escalation in the region.”
Merkel alluded to the two countries’ support for the Iran nuclear deal. She said: “We know that we face an extremely complicated situation here. The escalation of the last few hours shows it is truly a matter of war and peace, and I can only call on all involved to exercise restraint.”
Britain condemned the Iranian rocket attack “in the strongest terms.”
In a statement Thursday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged Iran to refrain from actions that could destabilize the region. Johnson also called on Russia to press the Syrian government, its ally, to work toward a broader political settlement.
Russia said the Israeli strikes on Iranian facilities in Syria marked a dangerous escalation, urging both Israel and Iran to avoid provoking each other.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow saw Thursday’s strikes as a “very alarming development.”
He noted that in contacts with the leadership of both countries, including a meeting Wednesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “we underlined the necessity of avoiding any actions that might be mutually provocative.” Netanyahu visited Moscow Wednesday to attend celebrations marking the WWII victory anniversary.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Golan Heights residents resume routine activities after tense night سكان هضبة الجولان يستأنفون روتين حياتهم اليومي بعد معارك الليل
Ahiya Raved/Ynetnews/May 10/18
After spending the night in security rooms following the Iranian rocket attack on bases in the Golan Heights and the Israeli retaliatory strikes in Syria, residents say they feel protected by the IDF.
Residents of the Golan Heights went through a tense night Wednesday after 20 rockets were launched into Israel from Syrian territory, leading to a wide-scaled IDF attack on Iranian targets in Syria.
The Golan Heights’ residents said Thursday morning was relatively quiet, and seemed to be maintaining vigilance, yet they continued with their routine as much as possible.We spent the night in a security room,” said Kibbutz El Rom’s resident Mirit Cohen. “Our children slept with us, we are well trained and prepared for these kinds of events.
“The night was a bit tense, but all in all we feel safe. This has been a routine morning for us, knowing the IDF is keeping us safe,” Cohen added.
A resident of Moshav Sha’al, located in the northern Golan Heights, said the air raid siren went off the minute he and his family went to bed around midnight.
“I immediately received a message on my phone instructing us to enter the security rooms. We kept being updated by the local council’s situation room about what was going on,” Haziza said.
‘We weren’t surprised about the turn of events. The tension in our region has been rising recently, and we’ve been feeling it very vividly. We know what to do and continue with our routine,” he went on to say.
El Rom’s director of tourism Eran Levi said that for now there were no cancelations of vacations scheduled for the coming weekend.
“Several buses with German and American tourists are scheduled to arrive today. Moreover, numerous guides who regularly work with us said they will come to support us. So far everything is okay,” Levi said.
“We felt our biggest concern yesterday. Today people feel it’s behind them and they can resume their routine. In my opinion, those who come here want to show their support for the State of Israel.”
Another El Rom’s resident said she sent her children to school with no fear. “We are not scared and continue with life as usual. Once in a while, the air raid siren goes off, and then we go into the security room. This is how we live here and that’s that.”
El Rom’s security coordinator, Motti Fiada, described Wednesday night’s events. “Air raid sirens began going off around midnight. Rockets were fired, most of them were intercepted, and we heard the IDF retaliate.
“Naturally, due to past experience, our residents are well trained and know how to protect themselves,” he said.
“We all went into the security rooms and followed the Home Front Command and Golan Heights Regional Council’s instructions,” Fiada elaborated.
“We operated like a well-oiled machine, and luckily the whole event ended quickly and easily. The mental strength our residents show is unique and its effect is evident. Our children went to school this morning, farmers are working in the fields since dawn. We resumed our routine completely and expect many visitors during the weekend,” Fiada explained.
“The residents are not indifferent, but are very far from being hysterical. We keep practicing entering safe zones and this is exactly what we’ll do during the night,” he concluded.