In the wake of Iran’s strategic move of using a drone to draw Israeli fighters into Syria’s anti-aircraft range over the weekend, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz issued a stern warning to the Islamic Republic.
"If Iran continues to threaten and carry out offensive operations against Israel from Syria, Israel will teach Iran a lesson that it will never forget," Katz vowed on Sunday, according to CBN News.
Consider yourself warned …
The head of Israeli Intelligence assured Iran that it will suffer the consequences if it continues to violate Israel’s border with Lebanon and Syria.
“Israel will continue to enforce its red lines,” Katz tweeted on Sunday. “All international & regional actors interested in stabilizing the region should work together to counter Iran, prevent it from basing itself in Syria and stop its support of Hezbollah.”
After Israel struck down the Iranian drone that breached its airspace on Saturday, it sent F-16 fighter jets across the border and targeted Iranian combatants at 12 Syrian military bases – enforcing its national security policy of no tolerance when it comes to violating Israeli borders.
Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus made it clear to the world via social media Sunday that the Iranians and Syrians were the losers in the latest Middle East confrontation that saw the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) destroy and confiscate Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) before deploying F-16s deep inside Syria to pummel the drone’s command center from where it was launched – along with 11 other Syrian targets.
“Part of the remains of the UAV the #Iranians tried to sneak into Israel,” Conricus tweeted Sunday, along with a photo of the drone’s debris. “Not much left of it, similar to some parts of the #Syrian air defense array.”
Even though Israel’s airstrikes on a dozen Syrian military bases were successful, one of its F-16s was shot down – with its pilot escaping before the crash.
“During the operation, Syria responded by launching a wave of surface-to-air missiles, which managed to shoot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet,” CBN News recounted. “It marked the first time in more than 30 years that an Israeli plane was shot down by enemy fire.”
Conricus also informed the social media world that Iran was the perpetrator behind the latest Middle East conflict.
“Original footage showing #Iranian UAV infiltrating and then shot down over Israel, and #IDF strike on Iranian command vehicle in #Syria,” stated Conricus’ Saturday post on Twitter, which was accompanied by a video of the demolished drone.
Israel also made it loud and clear that it had no intention of letting Iran get away with its ongoing war games that are intended to make the Jewish State out to be the aggressor – as the Islamic regime has done via its jihadist terror group, Hezbollah, in Syria and Lebanon, as well as amongst the Palestinians in Israel’s West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"Israel stresses that it will not accept an Iranian presence in Syria, damage to its sovereignty, and development and construction of missiles for Hezbollah in Lebanon by Iran," Katz proclaimed, according to Israel National News (INN). "The Iranian leadership must explain to its people why it sends its soldiers outside of its borders and wastes the people's money by funding the terrorist organizations in the Middle East, instead of investing the money in the welfare of the people. The campaign against Iranian aggression must also be in Syria. We must embark on a diplomatic and economic campaign to stop Iran in Syria and throughout the region."
He continued to put Syria on warning that Israel will immediately annihilate any threat in the skies – as it has done before.
"This is not the first time that Syria has launched missiles at Israel Air Force planes," Katz reminded the Saudi Arabian London-based newspaper, the Elaph, according to INN. "Israel will continue to maintain aerial superiority and control the skies of the region."
After following up its strike on the Iranian drone, Israeli aircraft flew across the Syrian border to launch a large-scale attack on 12 Syrian targets, which included four Iranian installations and three aerial defense batteries – a bold feat that Katz heralded, using it as a bold reminder to Iran that it will not be allowed to establish a threatening military presence along Israel’s northern border.
"They, and we, know what we hit and it will take them some time to digest, understand, and ask how Israel knew how to hit those sites," Katz informed Army Radio, according to the Times of Israel. "These were concealed sites and we have intelligence agencies and the ability to know everything that is going on there – and yesterday we proved that."
As a member of Israel’s high-level security cabinet, Katz impressed the fact that Israel will continue to do everything it can to crush any threats along it northern borders – emphasizing that it could do a lot more damage if it wanted to.
“If Israel would have proactively struck at the targets that were hit yesterday – regardless of the UAV – the ground would have shook,” Israel’s national security expert added.
International Crisis Group Analyst Ofer Zalzberg put the world on alert that the latest Middle East confrontation in Syria could be the event that fans the flames of the decades-long tensions between Israel and Iran, but he is doubtful that either nation actually wants to engage in a full-fledged war.
“We are entering a stage in which it's likely we'll see more clashes between Israel and Iranian forces,” Zalzberg told the Guardian.
Russia condemned Israel for acting in its own security interests by attacking the Iranian threat in Syria – an anticipated move Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently discussed with Russian President Valdimir Putin during a visit to Russia.
“It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen who are in Syria at the invitation of its legitimate government,” Russia’s foreign ministry declared, according to the Times of Israel.
Shortly after the retaliatory airstrikes on Syria, Netanyahu reemphasized to Putin Israel’s resolve to aggressively counter any Iranian threat to the Jewish State.
As the United States continues to strengthen its partnership with Israel under the Trump administration – attempting to repair eight years of anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian foreign policy implemented by former President Barack Obama – U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert stressed that America resolutely supports Israel in its conflict with its neighboring Arab enemies.
“Iran’s calculated escalation of threat, and its ambition to project its power and dominance, places all the people of the region – from Yemen to Lebanon – at risk,” Nauert impressed, according to the Times of Israel. “The U.S. continues to push back on the totality of Iran’s malign activities in the region and calls for an end to Iranian behavior that threatens peace and stability.”