The Israeli army said Thursday morning that it set back Iranian military capabilities in Syria by “many months” with overnight strikes on “dozens” of targets affiliated with the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps’ al-Quds Force following an attempted large-scale rocket attack on Israeli territory.
The Israel Defense Forces said that it suffered no casualties, either on the ground or in the air, and that no rockets made impact in Israeli territory. “All of our planes returned home safely,” the army said.
IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus stressed that Israel was not seeking an escalation of hostilities with Tehran, after some 20 rockets were fired at Israeli military bases by Iranian forces from southern Syria just after midnight, prompting extensive Israeli retaliatory raids.
Four of the 20 projectiles launched by Iranian troops were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and the rest fell in Syria, Conricus said. The rockets included both Grad and Fajr-5 models, according to the military.
The IDF said the initial missile barrage was launched by members of the IRGC’s al-Quds Force. It appeared to be the first time Israel attributed an attack directly to Iran, which generally operates through proxies.
The overnight exchange was the largest-ever direct clash between the Iranian and Israeli militaries, and appeared to be the largest exchange involving Israel in Syria since the two countries reached by the two countries in 1974 following the the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Conricus confirmed that Israel’s strike throughout Syria were coordinated in advance with Russian forces in the country.
In all, the army said it carried out approximately 50 raids against IRGC targets, including intelligence centers, weapons depots, storage facilities, observation posts, and logistics centers in Syria, as well as the rocket launcher that carried out the initial attack.
It was the “largest such operation [by Israel] against Iranian targets,” Conricus said.
“All of the targets that we engaged were effectively destroyed,” he added, causing “significant damage” to the Iranians.