Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Money | By Bruce West

Israel launches major strike on Iranian targets in Syria

Israel launches major strike on Iranian targets in Syria

The Israel Defense Forces said that it suffered no casualties, either on the ground or in the air, and that no rockets fired from Syria made impact in Israeli territory.

Russia, generally friendly to Israel but fighting in Syria's civil war on the same side as Iran, called on both to show restraint and resolve differences through diplomatic means.

Israel has carried out more than a dozen strikes in Syria in the past year. A number of those rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system, resulting in bright and sudden explosions.

This was one of the largest Israeli military operations in recent years and the biggest against Iranian targets. It also comes ahead of a series of patriotic holidays in Israel, coinciding with the controversial moving of the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Carried out from Iranian military bases in Syria, it was the first direct Iranian attack on Israel rather than through its proxies. Following the incident, Russia, France, UK, and Germany all called to deescalate the tensions, while the United States said Iran was at fault and emphasized Israel's right to "self-defense". "We hit almost all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria", said Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman. If we get rain, they'll get a flood. President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the global nuclear agreement with Iran, with strong support from Israel, has further raised tensions.

No top Iranian officials have commented on the claim and official media in the country have attributed the rocket barrage to the Syrian army. The Syrian army claimed that only three people had been killed, although the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 23 fatalities, 18 of them foreigners.

If America's withdrawal from the nuclear deal provokes Iran to expand its nuclear program once more, the risk of Israeli or American attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities will start growing, as it did between 2011 and 2013.

Iran also installed air-defense systems that can reach into Israel.

According to the IDF, some 20 rockets were fired at Israeli positions on the Golan Heights by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-Quds Force troops.

The same could not be said in February, during another clash between Israeli, Syrian, and Iranian forces, in which an F-16 fighter was shot down and crashed in a field in northern Israel, after the pilot and navigator ejected. "This is what we have done and this is what we will continue to do", he asserted. Iran is institutionalizing its military presence there, to the distress of Israel, which has vowed to block the establishment of a permanent Iranian foothold.

Thursday's flare-up came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from a visit to Moscow, where he discussed Syria concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The United States portrayed its rejection of that agreement as a response, in part, to Iran's military interventions in the Middle East, underpinning Netanyahu's tough line towards Tehran. The broadcaster also described the Israeli attack as "unprecedented" since the 1967 Mideast war.

Manelis posted a photo to his personal Facebook account, illustrating Israel's airstrikes at several locations in Syria, including several near Israel's capital of Damascus.

Russian Federation and Israel coordinate their actions within Syria for the objective of deconfliction.

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