The IDF is increasing its air and ground forces in northern Israel, in the wake of Israel’s retaliation against the firing of an Iranian missile at the Hermon Sunday afternoon. Israeli forces conducted a major bombing raid against Iranian targets in the Damascus area in response. Lebanese media reported that “dozens” of Israeli planes could be seen operating in the skies over the Golan Heights.
On Monday, Iran threatened to retaliate. Al-Jazeera quoted a top Iranian Air Force official as saying that his forces “are ready for the decisive battle against Israel that will lead to its elimination. Out forces are well-prepared for the day that Israel will be destroyed.” According to Syrian human rights groups, 11 people were killed in the Israeli raid overnight Sunday, while Russian news agencies said the toll was four dead. There was no word on whether any of those killed were Iranians.
Earlier, the IDF spokesperson provided details of the Israeli raid, which targeted, among other sites, “a very significant weapons warehouse in Damascus Airport,” IDF spokesperson Ronen Manulis told reporters Monday. That was a change from the traditional Israeli policy on these matters; in the past, the IDF has been reluctant to even confirm the fact of Israeli attacks on Iranian targets in Syria, but that strategy was changing, said former National Security Council head Yaakov Nagel told Army Radio.
“We are no longer going to be opaque about these attacks,” Nagel said. “The attack is just a means, not an end in itself. The IDF wanted to give a message to the Iranians, that they need to be very careful. The objective is get Iran to remove its forces from Syria. We made a mistake in that we didn’t do that in Lebanon, and now there are 150,000 missiles aimed at us. We cannot allow Iran to remain anywhere in Syria, it doesn’t matter how far from the border they are,” he added.