In response to an Iranian missile barrage launched on Wednesday night from Syria, the Israeli Air Force responded with an airstrike that one official described as “Finding a needle in a haystack”. The IAF succeeded in finding a lot of needles and knocked out most of Iran’s military capabilities.
Just after midnight, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ al-Quds Force launched 20 missiles at northern Israel from southern Syria. Four missiles were shot down by the Iron Dome system and the rest failed to cross the border into Israel. At least on missile flew wide, landing in Lebanon. The IAF responded with a two and a half hour mission dubbed “House of Cards” in which 28 Israeli F-16’s and F-15’s fired approximately 60 ground to air missiles on over 50 targets under difficult circumstances. Israel also fired at least 10 tactical air-to-ground missiles into Syria.
“We used many dozens of bombs. The weather conditions were limiting, the skies were full, which demanded coordination and synchronization, all of this while dozens of missiles were being fired at our planes — this was a complicated mission,” an air force officer said to Times of Israel, speaking on condition of anonymity,
Syrian anti-aircraft installations targeted the IAF warplanes with missiles but the IAF succeeded in knocking out intelligence centers, weapons depots, storage facilities, observation posts, and logistics centers in Syria. No Israeli planes were hit in the attack. A video released by the IDF showed a precision hit on one of the SA-22 anti-aircraft rocket launchers.
The IDF struck an SA22 aerial interception system as part of a wide-scale attack against Iranian military sites in Syria pic.twitter.com/dFGXIwMT45
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 10, 2018
The IDF said that one launcher was hit as it was preparing to fire and yet another was hit as it was firing at Israel.
These are aerial images of Iranian sites in Syria that the IDF targeted in the overnight strike in response to rockets that Iranian Forces fired at Israeli territory pic.twitter.com/yhm28yQEx4
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 11, 2018
“We are invested in locating missile launchers before the launch. Yesterday, we didn’t succeed,” he said to Times of Israel, referring to the 20 missiles fired at Israel. “It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack.”
The air force officer told reporters that Thursday’s air raids were coordinated with Russia and the United States, both of which have a significant military presence in Syria.
“We told the Russians that we were going to strike in Syria, but we didn’t tell them where we exactly we were striking or what the targets were,” the officer said.
At least 23 fighters, including five Syrian regime troops and 18 other allied forces, were killed in the attacks, the anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday.
After the airstrike, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that “nearly all” of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria had been destroyed in the attacks, adding a warning.
“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.”
He also warned Iran against escalating the conflict.
“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 said to the press. “We are not trying to aggravate or create a new front. The ones constantly trying to spread and build more proxies are Iran. We see them acting everywhere. Iran is trying to create a new front with us. We will not let them use Syria as a base to attack us from.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out with a strong statement warning Iran against further hostilities.