Eight Iranians among 15 killed in suspected Israeli strike on Syria: monitor

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 18, 2018

According to Horowitz, "Israel chose to publish such threats to send the message that it will see any attack coming from an Iranian-backed group as one actually coming from Iran, and thus will respond in kind". Israel accuses Tehran of seeking to establish a foothold on its doorstep, something it has vowed never to allow.

That attack killed 15 people, including eight Iranians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, though the commander said there were no casualties.

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.

Missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria, on Thursday.

Israel says it has struck nearly all of Iran's military infrastructure inside Syria in its biggest assault since the start of the civil war there.

Netanyahu says he and Putin also discussed the United States administration's decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, but says the conversation focused mostly on Iran's effort to turn Syria into a forward base to attack Israel.

Israel regards Iran as its biggest threat, and has repeatedly targeted Iranian forces and allied militia in Syria.

In Iran's first official reaction to the attack, a Friday report in state-run IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying the Israeli attack on Syria under "fabricated and baseless excuses" is a breach of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.

In a press statement, Saudi Arabia said that it welcomed the decision, claiming that Iran had "exploited" economic gains from the deal in order to "destabilize" the region. He added, "I hope we have finished with this round and that everybody understood".

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War is, though, a different probability - and also one for the Israeli public is still being prepared almost hour by hour.

An official with the Iran-led regional alliance supporting regime head Bashar Assad said the strike targeted a regime position, but killed a Syrian man and his wife who happened to be passing by in their vehicle.

Syrian state television was broadcasting footage of its air defenses firing, and playing patriotic songs.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are calling for de-escalation in the Middle East after an alleged Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the Golan Heights prompted Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria. The rockets were all either intercepted or fell short of their mark in Syrian territory, the spokesman said, but were nevertheless a significant escalation in Iran's maneuvers in the Middle East. The incoming attack set off air raid sirens in the Golan.

Conricus said Israel was not looking to escalate the situation but that troops will continue to be on "very high alert".

"Should there be another Iranian attack, we will be prepared for it", he said. However Israel and Iran remain on a collision course. Israel responded by attacking anti-aircraft positions in Syria, but an Israeli warplane was shot down during the battle.

Conricus said Israel forewarned Russian Federation of its strikes on Thursday, which Syrian state media first reported hit Baath City in Quneitra, near the border.

In a statement, the military said the targets included what it described as Iranian intelligence sites: a logistics headquarters belonging to the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, military compounds, munition storage warehouses of the Quds Force at Damascus International Airport, intelligence systems associated with those forces, and military posts and munition in the buffer zone between the Syrian Golan Heights and the Israeli-occupied portion of the strategic plateau.

Last month, an attack on Syria's T4 air base in Homs province killed seven Iranian military personnel.

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