Israel Says It Has Struck “Dozens” Of Iranian Military Targets In Syria
The US and UK have both condemned Iran’s provocation against Israel, which prompted overnight missile strikes on Iranian military sites in Syria.
Israel claimed Thursday that the country’s military had wiped out “almost all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria” in a series of missile strikes.
Israel said it was retaliating to an earlier missile barrage on its military targets in the occupied Golan Heights — an area in southwest Syria which overlooks northern Israel — that it directly blamed on Iran. Iran is yet to officially comment.
Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman said that no rockets landed on Israeli territory and cautioned that Israel wouldn’t allow Syria to become a “forward base” for Iran to launch attacks. He said that while Israel did not wish to escalate the conflict, “If it rains on us, it will pour on them.”
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that 23 fighters were killed in Israel’s attacks.
The Russian military said in a statement that Israel fired as many as 70 missiles into Syria during a two-hour raid, half of which it claimed were shot down by anti-air defence systems. Russia said that 60 air-to-surface missiles were fired by 28 Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, while 10 were surface-to-surface missiles.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said its fighter jets hit targets at seven locations in Syria, including an armory and a military compound, that are used by the Quds Force, an Iranian special forces group under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The White House said in a statement: “The United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense.
“The Iranian regime’s deployment into Syria pf offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East.”
Earlier, a spokesperson for British prime minister Theresa May also condemned the Iranian attack: “Israel has every right to defend itself. We call on Iran to refrain from any further attacks and for calm on all sides,” they said.
French president Emmanuel Macron called for a “de-escalation” in the conflict between Israel and Iran, and said he would discuss the issue with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday.
UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson added: “It is crucial to avoid any further escalations, which would be in no one’s interest. We also continue to call on Russia to use its influence to press those in Syria to cease their destabilising activity and work towards a broader political settlement.”