Israeli Merkava tanks are deployed near the Israeli-Syrian border on Thursday in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. Some 20 rockets were fired at Israeli military bases by Iranian forces from southern Syria just after midnight on Thursday, sparking the largest ever direct clash between Jerusalem and Tehran, with Israeli jets targeting numerous Iranian-controlled sites across Syria. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
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In response to Iran’s attempt to bomb some of its military sites, the Israeli military has destroyed several Iranian posts in Syria.
Early Thursday, Iran fired about 20 rockets at Israeli positions in Golan Heights, according to the Israeli military. The Golan Heights region borders Syria. The rockets that did not fall short on their own were destroyed by Israel’s formidable missile defense system — Iron Dome — before they could cause any damage.
In response, Israel launched a missile strike of its own against dozens of Iranian positions in Syria.
The Iranian military claimed that only three people were killed and two injured by the Israeli missile strikes, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that the strikes killed at least 23 people.
Israel's defense minister announced that the strikes had destroyed “nearly all” of Iran's military installations in Syria.
“If there is rain on our side, there will be a flood on their side,” the Israeli defense minister said. “I hope we have finished with this round and that everybody understood.”
Israel blamed the initial missile strike on the Quds Force, which is a special forces unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The U.S. Treasury Department lists both the Quds Force and the Revolutionary Guard as supporters of terrorism.
What did Russia and White House say?
The Russian government, which along with Iran is one of the few allies of the Syrian regime, called for "restraint on all sides."
The White House released a statement on Thursday morning condemning Iran’s missile strike and supporting Israel's response:
The United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense. 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 statement also called for other nations “to make clear that the Iranian regime’s actions pose a severe threat to international peace and stability.”
President Donald Trump cited information gathered by Israeli intelligence as part of the rationale behind pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama administration had signed with Iran.
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