The IDF hit almost all of Iran’s infrastructure in Syria, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in Herzliya on Thursday, hours after Israel and Iran exchanged barrages of missiles and air strikes.
IDF strikes Iranian targets in Syria May 10, 2018 (IDF Spokesman's Unit)
Early on Thursday morning, Iran fired 20 rockets at Israel. Four were shot down by Iron Dome, and the other 16 hit in Syrian territory.
The IDF responded with air strikes against around 50 Iranian military training sites, Iranian Revolution Guard Corps intelligence collection and logistics, rocket-firing positions, airfield positions and weapons storage facilities.
Liberman said not a single Israeli civilian or piece of Israeli property was harmed. “Last night, Iran tried to attack Israeli sovereign territory and failed,” he said.
An Israeli citizen reacts after Israel hits dozens of Iranian targets in Syria, May 10, 2018 (Reuters)
The defense minister threatened the Islamic Republic going forward, saying that “if Iran hits us with a drizzle here, we will hit them with a downpour there.”
Israel “will not let Iran turn Syria into a base for attacking Israel,” he said. “There are many radical Islamists, but Iran is the only one which is really” implementing its ideology “all over the Middle East and Africa.”
“Iran has wasted $13 billion in the Syrian civil war and continues to spend $2b. a year there,” he said. “Iran is wasting its next generation with its efforts to expand.”
Liberman explained that Israel has no interest in conquering any part of Syria, and he cautioned against celebrations on the Israeli side or anything that might push for further escalation.
The defense minister seemed to signal to Tehran that Israel would prefer to return to quiet following the exchange of attacks. It is Iran, he said, that wants to build a new base for attacking Israel – a goal he thinks most Iranians oppose.
Liberman also addressed the ongoing Iran nuclear saga.
He said President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the 2015 deal and reinstate sanctions on the Islamic Republic “has given Iran a clear decision point: Survive or continue adventures all over the Middle East and other places.”
Furthermore, he said, Trump had sent a very strong broader message, and his tone of being tough on Iran accompanied by his progress in negotiations with North Korea had created a very favorable dynamic.
Moving over to the Palestinian arena, Liberman expressed skepticism about any peace moves.
“Peace in the Middle East will come with the coming of the Messiah,” he said.
“There is no peace in the Middle East,” he added. “Whoever talks about that in this region is confused about their geography.”
“Hamas will try to provoke in the coming days, especially with the opening of the US Embassy [next week], but we are ready,”
Liberman said, noting that Hamas has no interest in coexistence or caring for its own people, and “they just want to destroy us.”
Regarding this week’s Lebanese election, he said Hezbollah’s success meant it now “controls the Lebanese Army, and that army will follow their orders. This is a new reality,” implying that Israel may treat the Lebanese Army with greater hostility going forward.
“Hezbollah has completed its takeover of Lebanon” using democratic means, Liberman said.