Netanyahu: Iran ‘Crossed Red Line’ in Syria

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israel Iran
Israeli tanks in the Israeli Golan Heights, on Thursday. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

The Israeli security cabinet convened on Thursday evening to discuss the crisis with Iran in Syria, even as the latest threat that revenge “will come” was heard from Tehran.

Ahead of the meeting at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a video to explain his government’s policy:

“Iran crossed a red line, and we reacted accordingly. The IDF conducted a very extensive attack on Iranian targets in Syria. Thanks to sufficient preparations by our forces — both in defense and in offense — the Iranian operation failed. No missile landed in Israeli territory.”

“We are in the midst of a continuous battle, and our policy is clear: We will not allow Iran to entrench itself militarily in Syria,” he said.

Following the meeting, the IDF said that it had hit over 50 targets in Syria in the overnight strikes, including Iranian intelligence sites, logistic centers, and military bases operated by the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force.

IDF spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said that Israel destroyed dozens of Iranian military sites in Syria, as well as Syrian anti-aircraft units that tried unsuccessfully to shoot down Israeli planes.

In addition, a weapons depot in the international airport in Damascus, observation posts and arms placed in the buffer zone on the Israel-Syria border were also struck.

There was a difference of opinion among senior officials at the meeting about what to do next, according to Hadashot. Housing Minister Yoav Galant, a retired IDF general, argued for further strikes against Iranian military positions in Syria. However, the IDF was said to favor a pause in operations.

Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan told Hadashot before the meeting that “if the Iranians look more carefully [at the situation], they’ll understand that we can hit them even more dramatically.”

“I think they now understand the IDF’s capabilities, its intelligence abilities, our capacity to strike both Iranian [forces] and Syrian.”

Meanwhile, the U.N. Secretary-General expressed concern over the crisis and urged restraint and de-escalation on both sides.

He also said that the Security Council should fulfill its responsibility under the U.N. Charter to find a political solution to the civil war in Syria, and that he stands ready to assist them, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said.

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has communicated with the Syrian Arab Armed Forces and Israel Defense Forces, urging both to exercise maximum restraint and abide by their obligations under the Disengagement of Forces Agreement.