WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – Late on Wednesday night, the Israeli Air Force launched a massive attack on Iranian military targets in Syria. The attack followed an Iranian barrage of some 20 rockets on an Israeli military outpost in the Golan Heights, territory that Syria lost to Israel in 1967.
Wednesday night’s military operation was the biggest Israeli strike in Syria in over 40 years—since a 1974 US-negotiated agreement between the two countries following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
“We hit almost the entire Iranian infrastructure in Syria,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman affirmed on Thursday.
“They must understand that if it rains here, it will pour there.”
The Trump administration immediately backed Israel, as the White House issued a statement “strongly” supporting “Israel’s right to act in self-defense,” while affirming that “Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions.”
The initial response from Syria and Iran has been to downplay the impact of the strikes. The Syrian army claimed that only three people had been killed, although the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 23 fatalities, 18 of them foreigners.
Iran’s official media has scarcely reported the attack on its facilities in Syria. It remains focused on Tehran’s defiant response to the US suspension of the Iranian nuclear deal on Tuesday.
Indeed, an Iranian parliamentarian, Abolfazl Hassan Beigi, went so far as to tell Russia’s Sputnik news that Israel was “lying” in its claim to have attacked Iranian forces in Syria.
“Iran has no military presence in Syria, no bases,” Beigi affirmed.
Despite its close ties with Syria and Iran, Russia has adopted a neutral stance.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Moscow on Wednesday for Russia’s celebration of Victory Day, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
That night, mere hours after Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin met, Israel launched its massive attack in Syria, giving rise to speculation that Putin had given Israel a green light for the assault.
Speaking at a major security event in Israel, the Herzliya Conference, Lieberman described at length the threat that Iran posed.
“Their activity isn’t limited to the state of Israel,” the Defense Minister said. “We see Iranians operating in Yemen, in Iraq, in Lebanon and in Africa as well.”
Lieberman also expressed his country’s dismay at the results of Lebanon’s elections on Sunday, in which Hezbollah, which the US officially deems a terrorist organization, along with its political allies, won a majority of the vote.
“In the elections that just ended, Hezbollah basically completed its takeover of Lebanon,” he said. “They say it was democratically elected? Hitler was democratically elected too.”