At least 23 people were killed as Israel launched missile strikes on Syria on Thursday, said human rights monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Israel said it had launched the airstrike after Iranian forces had fired 20 missiles towards its military outposts in the Golan Heights area early Thursday.
“We hit nearly all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria,” Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, according to AFP. “They need to remember the saying that if it rains on us, it’ll storm on them. I hope we’ve finished this episode and everyone understood.”
The defence ministry of Russia, which has forces in Syria supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime, said 28 Israeli warplanes took part in the raids and around 70 missiles were fired.
Syria’s military denied that 23 people were killed in the airstrikes, according to The Times of Israel. It said three people were killed and two were wounded, while a radar station and an ammunition warehouse were destroyed and several air defence units damaged.
The United States administration condemned the attack by Iran. “The United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens,” US Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, according to The Washington Post. The US government supports Israel’s “right to act in self-defense”, she said.
The United Kingdom warned against further escalation between Iran and Israel. Bahrain also supported the Israeli move to launch airstrikes. Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the foreign minister of Bahrain, said as long as Iran has breached the status quo, any state in the region, including Israel, has the right to defend itself, according to Arab News.
Hamas, a Gaza-based extremist group, said it regards “the Israeli occupation’s military attack on Syria as further proof of its acts of terrorism in the region and the threat it poses for the Middle East peace and stability”.