Israel then launched massive air raids on Iranian-linked targets in Syria, and claimed to have wiped out half of Syria's air defenses in the process. He added: "Whoever hurts us - we will hurt them sevenfold".
Israel said it had attacked almost all of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria on Thursday after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time, in the most extensive military exchange so far between the two adversaries.
It blamed the rocket fire on Iran's Quds force, adding that Israel's anti-missile system intercepted four while the rest did not land in its territory. There were no casualties.
The U.S. backed Israel's retaliatory strikes on Thursday, saying that the country had a right to defend itself in the face of Iranian aggression. In Iraq, two powerful political alliances expected to win seats in parliamentary elections Sunday also maintain strong ties to Iran.
The erosion of Iran's long-range missile capacity comes as part of Israel's ongoing effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a permanent military presence in Syria, according to Haaretz. Israel carried out the strike with impunity after entering Syrian airspace uninvited.
That barrage came soon after President Donald J. Trump's announcement Tuesday that he is ending the United States' participation in the Iran nuclear deal. The move has likely empowered the Islamic Republic's hardliners, removing incentives for restraint against Israeli and USA interests in the region.
The suspected Israeli strike came after the IDF gave orders to open public bomb shelters in the Golan Heights after reports of "irregular Iranian movements" inside Syria. Syria's capital, Damascus, shook with sounds of explosions just before dawn, and firing by Syrian air defences over the city was heard throughout the night.
"For the first time, Iran has the chance to show the world they are not the rogue nation they are always presented as, that they negotiated in good faith and keep to their commitments", said Karim Emile Bitar, of the Institute for global and Strategic Affairs in Paris.
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It would be a smart move for Iran's leaders now to back off.
"The pretext [for the bombings] was to allegedly strike Iranian bases".
"Whoever hurts us, we will hurt them seven-fold, and whoever is preparing to hurt us, we will act to hit them first", he said.
If anything, the lack of restrictions on the US now should serve as a reminder to Iran that it's a bad time to cause trouble. Moscow - which enjoys warm ties with Israel and has had ever-closer relations with Iran in recent years - in particular called for "restraint from all parties", Mikhail Bogdanov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency Interfax.
Even Iran's "Revolutionary Guards" did not respond to a statement by the Israeli Defense Ministry, which said it took out most of Iran's infrastructure there.
As tensions between Israel and Iran continued to rise, the United Nations, Russia, France, Germany and Britain urged the two countries to avoid any further escalation.
"Russia is not happy with Iran gaining too much power, too much influence there", he said.