Netanyahu: "Iran has crossed the "red line" and our response was appropriate"

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At the same time, the government said it has tasked the president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran with "taking all necessary steps in preparation for Iran to pursue industrial-scale enrichment without any restrictions".

The Israeli military said its airstrikes focused on intelligence sites, weapons storage and logistics centers, and that the jets also destroyed several Syrian air defense systems. Another rocket hit an ammunition warehouse, it said.

Managing the relationship with Russian Federation over Syria has been a key task of Liberman and his boss Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as Moscow wields significant influence over Syria and could act to thwart Israel's largely unchallenged freedom of movement in the country's airspace.

Israel struck back with its heaviest air strikes in Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, saying it had attacked almost all of Iran's military infrastructure.

The silence of other countries and global organizations on such aggressive moves and behavior of the Zionist regime means giving a green light to it and encouraging this regime to continue its aggressive moves, Qasemi said.

Four of the 20 rockets were on target, he added, but were then intercepted, while the rest fell short.

The Jewish state has long warned it will not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where the Islamic Republic backs Assad's regime in the country's seven-year civil war. "We are located here facing Syria and Lebanon and this is the reality which we will overcome together, especially with the IDF (Israel Defence Forces)", said Alex Gudish, a Golan settler.

Expectations of a flare-up in the Middle East were stoked by President Donald Trump's announcement on Tuesday that he was withdrawing the USA from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

In the escalating confrontation between Israel and Iran, Israel's defense minister called on Syria's President Bashar Assad on Friday to rid his country of Iranian forces based there - warning their presence will only cause more trouble to the already war-ravaged country. Israel says its occasional strikes in Syria aim to foil that. Together with the ascendant hawkish faction in the Trump administration, he is convinced that new sanctions and the attrition of Iranian forces in Syria will force Iran's leaders to capitulate and could even bring about their downfall. Hours later, state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast a live feed of Syrian air defenses firing into the sky above the capital, and loud explosions and air defense firing were heard through the night.

On Friday Iran accused Israel of carrying the air strikes under "false pretexts" but did not address Israel's assertion that the targets were Iranian. Iran and Israel are facing off openly. Iran denies arming them. In addition, Israel launched more than 10 surface-to-surface tactical missiles on Syria, it said.

Visiting a town in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on Friday morning local time, Liberman said he wanted to "send a message to Assad".

Israel's military went on high alert Tuesday and bomb shelters were ordered open in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights following reports of "irregular activity of Iranian forces in Syria".