Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned Iran that Israel’s airstrikes on Syria earlier in the day showed that, when assaulted, the Jewish state hits back hard.
Speaking at a ceremony for Jerusalem Day, when Israel marks the unification of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, Netanyahu said that in the decades since that conflict many moderate Arab states have “sobered up” regarding their attitudes toward Israel, which they now see as an ally against Iran.
“While we do not make light of Iran’s threats, neither are we deterred by them because anyone who tries to hurt us will be hurt far worse,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, the location of a key battle during the war. “We have proven this many times in the history of our state. We proved it just last night.”
The ceremony was also attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and other senior officials.
“Since 1967, a large number of Arab and Muslim countries have sobered up and today, thanks to our strength, they cooperate with us in an unprecedented manner,” Netanyahu said.
The IDF carried out airstrikes on several military targets in Syria in the predawn hours of Sunday morning in response to two rockets that were fired from the country at the Golan Heights the night before, the army said in a statement earlier.
“Every year Iran transfers to its protege Hezbollah $700 million,” Netanyahu said Sunday evening. “These enormous amounts are used to fuel the endless aggression by Iran and its satellites in our region. Our neighbors know this, all the Arab states know it, and that is one of the things bringing them to a renewed closeness with us.”
Beginning at 4:10 a.m. Sunday, IDF helicopters and planes attacked several targets connected to the Syrian army, including two artillery batteries, several observation and intelligence outposts, and an SA-2 type air defense unit, the army said in its statement. Syrian media reported that Israel also struck several targets connected to Iran and its proxy militias in Syria, in the area of al-Kiswah, south of Damascus.
The strikes reportedly targeted weapons caches and a military training facility. Seven “foreign fighters” were among the 10 killed by the strikes, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor group.
The Israeli army refrained from specifying who it believes fired the two rockets at the Golan Heights — one of which landed inside Israeli territory, the other in Syria — but said it “sees the Syrian regime as responsible for all attacks against Israel from Syrian territory.”
Saturday night’s rockets appeared to be a relatively long-range variety, reportedly fired from the Damascus area, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) away, similar to an attack earlier this year aimed at Mount Hermon.
Mount Hermon is located in the northern tip of Israel’s Golan Heights. In addition to a popular ski resort, the area is also home to a number of military installations.