It didn’t say whether any Iranians were among the foreigner casualties.
In the days and weeks before the Iranian barrage, defense officials repeatedly warned that Israel would respond aggressively to any attack from Syrian territory.
Tehran has repeatedly vowed revenge after the T-4 army base in Syria was struck in an air raid — widely attributed to Israel — on April 9, killing at least seven members of the IRGC, including a senior officer responsible for the group’s drone program.
“If we get rain, you will get a flood,” he warned Iran, speaking at an annual Herzliya Conference. “We will not let Iran use Syria as a base to attack us from.”
“The Iranians tried to attack the sovereign territory of Israel,” Liberman said. “Not one Iranian rocket landed in the State of Israel. Nobody was hurt. Nothing was damaged. And we’re to be thankful for that. We damaged nearly all of the Iranian infrastructure in Syria.”
But he added, “It’s not a stunning victory. Everything’s limited at the moment to a confrontation between us and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria. Everyone wants to limit this confrontation and keep it in this form.”
Liberman stressed that Israel had no interested in an escalation but that Iranian provocation met with force.
“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.
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 1973 Yom Kippur War.
“We have established contacts with all parties and we call for restraint from all parties,” he said. “It’s very worrying and a source of concern. We have to work to ease the tension.”
The Russian defense ministry claimed that Syria’s air defenses had managed to shoot down more than half of the missiles fired by Israel. It said that the Israeli strikes were conducted by 28 fighter jets.
IDF spokesman Jonathan Cornicus confirmed Thursday that Israel had given Russia prior notice of its intentions to attack Syria via a de-conflicting mechanism between the two countries that has been in place since 2015.
Also on Thursday, Germany condemned the attack the night before on Israel’s Golan Heights, stressing the Jewish state’s right to defend itself. At the same time, Berlin said it was important not to let the situation escalate.
“We note reports of Iranian rocket attacks on Israeli military bases with great concern,” a spokesperson for Germany’s Foreign Ministry said. “These attacks are a serious provocation that we strongly condemn. As we have always emphasized, Israel has a right to self-defense.
“At the same time, it is crucial that there is no further escalation,” the spokesperson said. “In particular, this means that we must do everything we can to finally achieve a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict — to end the suffering of the Syrian people, but also so as not to jeopardize stability in the entire region.“