Netanyahu: Iran rocket fire ‘crossed a red line and we reacted accordingly’

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Prime Minster Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said Iran had “crossed a red line” with its missile barrage directed at Israel a day earlier, adding that the IDF “reacted accordingly” by striking over 50 Iranian targets in Syria in response.

In his first remarks since the widespread overnight strikes, Netanyahu also said he had sent a clear message to Syrian leader Bashar Assad, warning him to keep Syrian forces out of the fight.

Netanyahu also called on the international community to unite and cut the Revolutionary Guard’s “tentacles of evil” spreading in Syria and elsewhere.

“Iran crossed a red line and we reacted accordingly,” the premier said in a Hebrew-language video released as the security cabinet were meeting at the IDF’s Tel Aviv headquarters.

Iranian forces fired some 20 rockets at northern Israeli military bases from southern Syria just after midnight on early Tuesday. The IDF said it suffered no casualties, either on the ground or in the air, and that no rockets fired from Syria made impact in Israeli territory.

“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,” Netanyahu said.

“The Israeli nation is proud of the IDF and trusts it,” he added. “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.”

The IDF hit over 50 targets in Syria in overnight strikes in response, including Iranian intelligence sites, logistic centers, weapons depots, and military bases operated by the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force.

The exchange was the largest-ever direct clash between the Iranian forces and the IDF, and appeared to be the largest exchange involving Israel in Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Among the site hit were Syrian air defense and Netanyahu said that was only because Assad had ignored his warning.

“Yesterday I conveyed a clear message to the Assad regime: Our activity is directed against Iranian targets in Syria. But if the Syrian army takes action against us, we will act against it,” Netanyahu warned. “That is exactly what happened yesterday, Syrian army batteries launched ground-to-air missiles against us, and therefore we hit them.”

Read More: Times of Israel